Fani Willis, Fulton County District Attorney, asked Tuesday for a judge to not release the report of a special grand jury tasked to investigate whether ex-President Donald Trump and his associates broke laws in their attempt to reverse his 2020 loss.
Willis requested Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney to not make the report of the special grand jury public. “In this instance, the state understands both the world’s curiosity and the state’s interests. Willis stated that we must be careful to protect future defendants’ rights.”
However, the prosecutors did not object to eventually publishing the report. Willis clarified that it was “imminent” to decide whether to make any recommendations.
Willis stated that they are asking for the report to be kept secret because, having seen it, there are likely to be decisions. McBurney was the special grand jury that supervised McBurney’s work. He recommended that the report be made public, along with a group of media organizations who agree.
McBurney stated that he would make a decision about whether or not to release the entire report after the hearing ended.
McBurney stated Tuesday that there will not be any rash decisions, pointing out the extraordinary nature the investigation by the special grand jury.
Thomas Clyde, an attorney representing media groups, requested that the report of the special grand jury be made public “now” as well as “in its entirety.”
Clyde stated that it is not uncommon for the [district attorneys] or for a prosecuting agency to release information during its case progress. He was referring to Willis’s argument to keep his report sealed.
The Tuesday hearing was to decide whether or not to release the report of a 26-member panel that spent eight months investigating Trump’s allies.
Although Willis is expected to receive recommendations on criminal prosecutions, it is unclear how specific these recommendations will be. Willis was able to decide whether to indict the general grand jury, as the special grand jury had no power to indict.
McBurney stated that, if any portion of the report were to be made publicly, he would notify the public at some point after Tuesday’s hearing.
McBurney then asked the attorneys of the state why the special grand jury report should not be made public, while other investigations such as that conducted by the House Jan.6 committee were made public.
Willis began her investigation in early 2021 after the recording of a January 2016 phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary Of State Brad Raffensperger (a Republican) began to circulate. Raffensperger was told by Trump that he had approximately 12,000 votes available to overturn his election loss.
The grand jury was also tasked with investigating a coordinated effort by Republican presidential electors to send “alternate” slates to states won in the election of Joe Biden. According to court filings, the attorneys representing the fake electors claimed that their clients were protecting Trump’s rights in a lawsuit to reverse the Peach State election results. The suit had been filed by an attorney seeking to overturn them.
Jurors heard testimony of 75 witnesses, including officials from the state such as Gov. Brian Kemp (Republican-GA) and Raffensperger as well as Trump advisers such as Senator Lindsey Graham and Rudy Giuliani.
Monday’s statement by the attorneys for the former president stated that they were not involved in the investigation.
Attorneys for Trump stated that while the grand jury required the testimony of many other officials, sometimes high-ranking, during the investigation, they never considered it necessary to speak with President Trump. “We can therefore assume that the grand jur did their job and reviewed the facts and law as we have done and found no violations by President Trump.”
Trump posted to Truth Social Tuesday. He defended the call with Raffensperger and repeated his claim that the Georgia election was stolen.
The Justice Department is currently investigating Trump’s actions in trying to alter the outcome of the 2020 elections and keeping classified documents after he leaves the White House in 2021.
Trump continues to face legal obstacles, including the Trump Organization, which was convicted by a New York court of tax fraud in December.
Letitia James, a Democrat from New York, is also suing Trump and his children. She accuses them of lying about their assets to banks and insurance companies. A criminal investigation has been opened by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into Trump’s business.