Georgia judge orders Fulton County DA to respond to Trump’s motion seeking to quash grand jury report
Former President Trump’s attorneys filed a motion last week to quash a Georgia special purpose grand jury’s investigative report which recommended indictments in connection to alleged efforts by him and his allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
Now, a judge on Monday gave the district attorney until May 1 to respond.
In a 52-page page filing, which includes 431 more pages of exhibits, Trump’s Atlanta-based attorneys, Jennifer Little, Drew Findling and Marissa Goldberg, argued that the conduct by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who presided over the special grand jury, and the jurors themselves, including special grand jury forewoman Emily Kohrs, tainted the investigation. Trump’s legal team demanded another judge recuse the prosecutor’s office from handling the case.
“The whole world has watched the process of the (special purpose grand jury) unfold and what they have witnessed was a process that was confusing, flawed and, at times, unconstitutional,” the filing says. “Given the scrutiny and gravity of the investigation and those individuals involved — namely, the movant President Donald J. Trump, this process should have been handled correctly, fairly and with deference to the law and the highest ethical standards.”
In an order Monday, McBurney ordered Willis’ office to respond to the motion no later than May 1.
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This comes as The Wall Street Journal reports a Manhattan grand jury considering charges against Trump over alleged hush money payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign was reconvening on Monday as well.
The Georgia motion argues McBurney violated the rights of some of the parties targeted in the investigation by speaking to the media.
In deeming the investigation criminal instead of civil in nature, McBurney caused “a negative ripple effect on the constitutional integrity of the entire process as it permitted the compulsion of testimony from out-of-state witnesses and impacted the application of core constitutional privileges such as the Fifth Amendment and sovereign immunity,” according to the motion.
“During the course of the SPGJ investigation, the Supervising Judge indicated bias on more than one occasion by making prejudicial comments. More specifically, he made improper remarks impacting the Fifth Amendment rights of the accused. As argued above, this behavior affected the substantive rights of witnesses and non-witnesses alike, including President Trump,” the motion says.
Last summer, as the motion notes, McBurney prevented Willis from questioning Georgia Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, a named “target” of the investigation, due to a political conflict of interest. Little, Findling and Goldberg, therefore, argue Willis, a Democrat, should have been disqualified from the entire probe.
The judge on Feb. 13 ordered the release of a redacted version of the final report “as a means of protecting the due process rights of individuals who may be names in such report.”
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Just five days later, foreperson Kohrs spoke to the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal Constitution and gave a 42-minute on-camera interview with NBC and a subsequent on-air interview to CNN. “The foreperson’s now widespread statements have provided a first-hand glimpse inside the SPGJ process – an otherwise historically secretive affair,” the motion says. Another five grand jurors spoke on condition of anonymity to the Constitution Journal on March 15.
“Collectively, the six jurors’ statements reveal a tainted process incapable of producing valuable evidentiary material and a District Attorney’s Office who provided constitutionally flawed instructions,” the motion says. “The foreperson disclosed grand jurors’ opinions as to the credibility of witnesses, their strategic decisions in drafting the report, and general discussions between the jurors. She ultimately revealed that the SPGJ recommended at least twelve people for indictment.”
The special purpose grand jury was desolved on Jan. 9, 2023. The investigation involved interviews from 75 witnesses, including Trump allies Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows and Lindsey Graham. Willis first announced her investigation into whether Trump violated state law in pushing to overturn the election results in February 2021. The special purpose grand jury was convened about six months before Trump announced another bid for the White House in 2024. In the weeks prior the announcement, Willis reportedly began ramping up the probe.
“President Trump was inextricably intertwined with this investigation since its inception,” the motion says. “The efforts under investigation squarely relate to his bid for a second term as President of the United States.”
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Trump’s legal team asked for a hearing on the motion and that it be presided by Chief Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville or another Superior Court judge, but not McBurney.
Fox News Digital reached out to the district attorney’s office for comment Monday.