Fulton County, GA Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney on Tuesday was set to hear arguments from the District Attorney’s office, news organizations and others about whether to make public the special grand jury’s report into alleged criminal interference in Georgia’s 2020 elections.
Not planning to attend the hearing: attorneys for former President Trump.
Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis called for an investigative grand jury to look into the matter last year. The “special purpose grand jury” spent eight months hearing from dozens of witnesses, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R).
Willis reportedly focused on several areas: phone calls made to Georgia officials by Trump and his allies; false statements made by Trump associates before Georgia legislative committees; a panel of 16 Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and that they were the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors; the abrupt resignation of the U.S. attorney in Atlanta in January 2021; alleged attempts to pressure a Fulton County election worker; and breaches of election equipment in a rural south Georgia county.
The investigation was sparked by the phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, during which the then-President pressured his fellow Republican, who recorded the call, saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
But Trump had already been undermining Georgia’s election results for weeks before that call. “Everyone knows that we won the state,” he said on Twitter on November 13, 2020.
Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled to begin at noon. It could potentially provide the most thorough detail yet about what jurors uncovered, as well as whether or when Willis plans to seek any charges against Trump or anyone else.
Willis, a Democrat who is up for re-election next year, has not spoken publicly about the investigation in months.
Meanwhile, a coalition of a dozen news outlets, both in Georgia and nationally, are set to argue that there is no legal basis for keeping the grand jury’s report from the public.
While attorneys for other targets of the investigation may speak at the hearing, Trump’s Georgia-based legal team said it has “never been a part of” the grand jury process. In a statement, they confirmed that Trump was never subpoenaed by the special grand jury, nor was Trump asked by prosecutors to voluntarily answer their questions.
“Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump,” attorneys Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg and Jennifer Little said Monday afternoon.
Norm Eisen, former U.S. ambassador and counsel in the first Trump impeachment trial, said during a press conference that he believes Georgia’s grand jury has enough evidence to indict Trump and others. However, he added, “You just never know. While the great likelihood is that we’re going to see a recommendation of charges here, you just never know.”