Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis reportedly asked a judge Tuesday to uphold the report of a special grand jury investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies violated Georgia state law by try to overturn the sealed 2020 election results, citing concerns over “future defendants.”
Willis said the release of the report could violate the rights of potential defendants and could negatively affect the ability to prosecute those who may be accused of crimes.
“We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, and we believe that future defendants will be treated fairly, it is not appropriate at this time for this report to be released,” Willis said, according to the Associated Press.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney was hearing arguments from the district attorney’s office, the media and possibly other parties before deciding whether to release the report, which is expected to include recommendations for Willis. about possible criminal prosecution.
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It’s unclear how specific those recommendations will be. The special grand jury did not have the power to issue indictments, and it will ultimately be up to Willis to decide whether he seeks indictments from a regular grand jury.
David Weinberg, a former staffer for the January 6 committee, tweeted Tuesday that Willis revealed that the special grand jury heard from 75 witnesses.
Over a period of about seven months, the AP reports that the special grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses, including high-profile Trump allies such as attorney Rudy Giuliani and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and high-ranking officials from Georgia, such as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp.
Willis began investigating shortly after a recording of a January 2021 phone call between Trump and Raffensperger became public. In that call, the president suggested that the state’s top elections official, a fellow Republican, could “find” the votes needed to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump had said. “Because we won the state.”
If McBurney decides to release the report, it must also determine whether any part of the report should be redacted and whether the report should be made public now or later. He assured an assistant district attorney that he argued against the release of the report that would not be released on Tuesday.
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The investigation is one of several that threaten potential legal consequences for the former Republican president as he seeks re-election in 2024.
Associated Press contributed to this report.