January 30, 2023

‘Decisions are imminent’ on charges in Trump’s effort to overturn 2020 election in Georgia, Fulton County DA says

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Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis suggested Tuesday that a special grand jury is investigating. Donald Trump And his allies’ efforts to preserve the 2020 election in Georgia have recommended multiple charges and said their decision to press charges was “easy.”

A hearing is underway in an Atlanta courtroom about whether to make the special grand jury’s report public. Willis, a Democrat, opposed the release, citing the ongoing debate over the charges.

“The verdicts are imminent,” Willis told Judge Robert McBurney.

“We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, and we believe that in order to treat future defendants fairly, it is not appropriate to release this report at this time,” he said. ”

The special grand jury, holding off on issuing an indictment, wrote the much-anticipated final report as its conclusion. Seven months of workThat included interviewing witnesses from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Rauffensperger to former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Its final report is likely to include some summary of the panel’s investigative work, as well as any recommendations for indictment and the alleged conduct that led the panel to its findings.

Donald Wakeford, Fulton County’s chief senior assistant district attorney, also argued to the judge that it would be “dangerous” to release the report before any announcement about possible charges.

Former President Donald Trump and Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis

FMR U.S. Attorney Explains What May Come Next in the Fulton Co. Investigation

“We believe that releasing immediately before the district attorney has had a chance to publicly address whether or not there will be charges — because there hasn’t been enough time to assess that — is dangerous,” he said. Wakeford said. “It’s dangerous to people whose names may or may not be included in the report for various reasons. It’s also insulting to the witnesses who came before the grand jury and told the truth to the grand jury.

Atlanta-area prosecutors are already considering the report as they weigh whether to bring charges against Trump or his associates.

McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury’s nearly seven-month investigation, will decide whether the report should be released publicly and, if so, how much of it. While the grand jury panel recommended making its report public, so far, the contents have been kept under wraps.

A media coalition, including CNN, is trying to make the full report public.

Trump’s lawyers are not participating in Tuesday’s hearing.

“The grand jury subpoenaed the testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking officials during the investigation, but never deemed it necessary to speak with the president,” Trump’s lawyers Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg and Jennifer Little said in a statement. “So, we can assume that the grand jury did its job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded that there was no violation of the law by President Trump.”

The Georgia investigation began shortly after Trump called Raffin Sperger in January 2021, pressuring the secretary of state to “find” the votes Trump needed to win the state. That state Joe lost to Biden by nearly 12,000 votes.

“Our vote is as important as anyone else’s,” Willis told CNN in a 2022 interview. “If somebody takes it or violates it in a way that’s criminal, because I’m sitting here in this jurisdiction, that’s my responsibility.”

Willis requested a special grand jury to investigate the case, and the panel began its work in June 2022, calling a roster of witnesses that included Raffensperger, GeolaniGeorgia Govt Brian Kemp And South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.

In this file photo, Fulton County Judge Robert C. McBurney instructs potential jurors during proceedings to impanel a special purpose grand jury on May 2, 2022 in Atlanta.

Over time, the investigation has expanded from Trump’s call to state lawmakers to include false claims of voter fraud, a fraudulent election scheme, attempts by unauthorized persons to access voting machines in a Georgia county and against election workers. Includes threats and harassment.

Along the way, Willis has named several people as targets of his investigation, including 16 Republicans who served as pro-Trump electors in 2020 and Giuliani.

But how much of it made it into the final report was up to the special grand jurors.

“It’s important for people to know that the prosecutor’s office does not traditionally write offers,” James said. “It’s literally the will of the people.”

Now that Willis has the special grand jury’s report, it’s up to him whether he goes to a regular grand jury to pursue an indictment. She is not required to follow the exact recommendations made by the special grand jury, but her work product is likely to eventually become public and she risks backlash if she strays too far from the panel’s recommendations. May be.

Willis previously said she may pursue racketeering-influenced-corrupt-organizations (RICO) charges in the case, which would allow prosecutors to charge multiple defendants and make the case that Trump and his His associates were part of a criminal organization.

Whatever his approach, he may face pressure to move forward with indictments or close his investigation.

The pressure level is “all-encompassing,” said James, who predicted Willis will marshal her resources and prepare for her trial before any charges are filed. Do it.

“The spotlight is hot,” James said. “You can’t afford to lose a case like this?”

Special grand jury reports describe the panel’s investigation and conclude with recommendations.

A 2013 special grand jury released a nearly 80-page report James worked with, but it was only released publicly after a month-long court battle.

The DeKalb County panel’s investigative summary cited testimony and documents that were provided to the grand jury. Towards the end of the report was a list of all the witnesses who appeared. Grand juries ultimately referred one man for indictment — who fought the public release of the report — and nearly a dozen others for further investigation, in each case describing violations that led to They came to their conclusion. He also recommended various government reforms.

A 2010 report by a special grand jury in Gwinnett County summarized its investigative activity into local land acquisition deals and indicted a government official, although the indictment was later dropped when A court ruled that a special grand jury could not indict.

This story has been updated with additional details.

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