Georgia Judge Orders Release of Grand Jury Report on Election Interference
A Georgia judge on Monday ordered the release of limited portions of a report from a grand jury tasked with reviewing election interference in 2020 as former President Donald Trump sought to reverse his loss in the state. Judge Robert McBurney said the sections that can be released on Thursday include the report’s introduction, its conclusion, and a section “in which the special purpose grand jury discusses its concern that some witnesses may have lied under oath during their testimony to the grand jury.”
For the investigation into President Trump and his allies' attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, a grand jury of 23 Georgians with three alternates interviewed 75 witnesses. They acted as an investigative entity that could propose accusations, yet could not formally charge anyone. McBurney reported that they suggested its release.
In January 2021, Mr Trump gained notoriety when he phoned Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and demanded that he “find” sufficient ballots to alter the outcome of the election in his favor. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) has since designated a number of people as targets of her probe, including 16 Georgia Republicans who served as pro-Trump electors in 2020 and Rudy Giuliani, who was working as a lawyer for Trump.
McBurney’s decision largely sided with Willis’s argument that the full public release of the grand jury's report could create challenges for future defendants to get a fair trial. The judge expressed concerns about due process for potential future defendants as they did not have an opportunity to present outside evidence during the grand jury's investigation.
The special grand jury, while not having the authority to issue indictments, can suggest possible charges to be made. The district attorney would then have to decide whether or not to pursue them. The remainder of the special grand jury's findings, which may include recommendations for potential charges, will not yet be made available to the public. This is due to the fact that some of the individuals mentioned in these suggestions may not have been present in any grand jury proceedings thus far.
Trump’s attorneys did not seek to intervene in the litigation over releasing the special grand jury’s report. Attorneys for the ex-president released a declaration last month which indicated that they assumed the investigative agency did not bring any charges against him since they never requested a subpoena or asked for a voluntary interview.
0. “Georgia judge orders limited release of grand jury report on Trump election interference” The Hill, 13 Feb. 2023, https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/3855720-georgia-judge-orders-limited-release-of-grand-jury-report-on-trump-election-interference/
1. “McBurney Orders Partial Release of Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury's Final Report” Lawfare, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.lawfareblog.com/mcburney-orders-partial-release-fulton-county-special-purpose-grand-jurys-final-report
2. “Judge orders release of parts of Georgia grand jury report on Trump's post-election conduct” CBS News, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/georgia-grand-jury-report-trump-election-interference-fulton-county
3. “Trump news – live: Georgia grand jury findings to be released today as Mark Meadows subpoenaed over Jan 6” The Independent, 16 Feb. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-georgia-grand-jury-mark-meadows-latest-b2283557.html
4. “What to know about the release of parts of a Georgia grand jury report on Trump and the 2020 election” KTVZ, 16 Feb. 2023, https://ktvz.com/news/2023/02/16/what-to-know-about-the-release-of-parts-of-a-georgia-grand-jury-report-on-trump-and-the-2020-election
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6. “Fulton indictments coming in 2020 election probe, just not reeling big fish” Florida Phoenix, 16 Feb. 2023, https://floridaphoenix.com/2023/02/16/fulton-indictments-coming-in-2020-election-probe-just-not-reeling-big-fish/
7. “Atlanta judge orders partial release of Trump election investigation report” 11Alive.com WXIA, 13 Feb. 2023, https://www.11alive.com/article/news/politics/fulton-election-probe-report-judge-mcburney-decision/85-770fdf80-f431-444a-99c6-77e2dc6f1e67
8. “Portions of Georgia grand jury report on Trump's 2020 election efforts set for release” ABC News, 16 Feb. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/portions-georgia-grand-jury-report-trumps-2020-election/story?id=97225371
9. “Donald Trump Indictment Looms as Georgia Bombshell Set to Drop” Newsweek, 15 Feb. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/trump-georgia-grand-jury-report-indictment-1781410
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