For The Record

Georgia Supreme Court rejects Trump’s bid to pre-empt Fulton D.A.’s expected indictments

By: - July 14, 2023 4:39 pm

Among those who never appeared before the grand jury, and thus never got a chance to explain his actions, was Donald Trump. Alex Wong/Getty Images

This post was updated 6:45 p.m. July 17 to include the Georgia Supreme Court’s rejection of the Trump legal team’s request to disqualify the Fulton district attorney.

On Monday, the Georgia Supreme Court rejected a petition asking the justices to stop Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from potentially indicting former President Donald Trump and his allies for alleged criminal interference in the state’s 2020 election.

In short order, the state’s highest court unanimously dismissed the petition filed by Trump’s attorneys on Thursday as the former Republican president attempted to disqualify the lead Atlanta Democratic prosecutor from a case that’s likely to be presented to a grand jury soon. In their ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s attorneys should first argue before a Fulton judge, then appeal the decision.

Trump’s lawyers have argued Willis is politically biased and asked the Supreme Court to quash the special grand jury report that recommended a dozen indictments.

In the petition, Trump’s attorneys argued that the court’s extraordinary consideration was warranted because Willis has hinted at pending criminal indictments as a new grand jury is set to consider issuing indictments of a dozen people connected in the election probe that opened in early 2021.

“Cloaking itself with the imprimatur of the special purpose grand jury’s authority, the District Attorney’s Office compelled the testimony of over 75 witnesses, many via material-witness warrants-criminal investigative tools that were beyond the special purpose grand jury’s lawful purview,” the Trump petition said. “All the while, the district attorney was laboring under an impermissible and actual conflict of interest: hosting and headlining a fundraiser for the political opponent of one of her investigation’s targets.”

Attorneys for Trump have also contended that the special grand jury went beyond its mandate during its lengthy investigation. Willis has denied allegations from Trump’s team that her probe is based on political malfeasance.

Earlier this summer, Willis told law enforcement agencies additional security would be around the Atlanta courthouse in anticipation of indictments coming out in the sweeping case that could lead to Trump and his allies facing criminal racketeering charges for conspiring to overturn President Joe Biden’s presidential election loss.

The case revolves around Trump and a number of his supporters lodging unfounded claims that widespread election fraud was the reason he lost in 2020 by nearly 12,000 votes in Georgia.

In early 2022, Willis launched the investigation after a recording of a phone call where Trump asked Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to declare him the winner of the 2020 election was released. 

Several legal analysts have said that a successful prosecution against Trump will depend on whether his request for Georgia election officials to find enough votes in his favor crossed the legal threshold of soliciting and conspiring to commit election fraud.

One of the most prominent witnesses in the special grand jury was Trump’s former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Giuliani promoted conspiracy theories about widespread election fraud while urging Georgia lawmakers to intervene on Trump’s behalf.

Other Trump allies subpoenaed in the case include his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, and a slate of fake Republican Georgia electors who cast votes in support of Trump.


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Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo.