COURTS & LEGAL

Georgia Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to shut down 2020 election investigation

Jul 17, 2023, 5:04 PM

FILE - Former President Donald Trump listens as he speaks with reporters while in flight on his pla...

FILE - Former President Donald Trump listens as he speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, in Waco, Texas, on March 25, 2023, while en route to West Palm Beach, Fla. An audio recording that includes new details from a 2021 meeting in Bedminster, New Jersey, where former President Donald Trump discusses holding secret documents he did not declassify has been released. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Georgia’s highest court Monday rejected a request by former President Donald Trump to block a district attorney from prosecuting him for his actions in wake of the 2020 election.

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously shot down a petition that Trump’s attorneys filed last week asking the court to intervene. Trump’s legal team argued that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her office should be barred from seeking charges and that a special grand jury report that is part of the inquiry should be thrown out.

Willis has been investigating since early 2021 whether Trump and his allies broke any laws as they tried to overturn his narrow election loss in Georgia to Democrat Joe Biden. She has suggested she is likely to seek charges in the case from a grand jury next month.

The state Supreme Court noted in its five-page ruling Monday that Trump has a similar petition pending in Fulton County Superior Court. The justices unanimously declined to overstep the lower court, writing that Trump “makes no showing that he has been prevented fair access to the ordinary channels.”

Georgia grand jury ends probe of Trump, 2020 election

Regarding Trump’s attempt to block the prosecutors, the justices said his legal filing lacked “the facts or the law necessary to mandate Willis’s disqualification by this Court at this time on this record.”

A spokesperson for Willis declined to comment. Trump attorney Drew Findling did not immediately respond to phone and text messages seeking comment.

Trump’s legal team previously acknowledged that the dual filings were unusual, but said they were necessary given the tight time frame. Two new regular grand juries were seated last week, and one is likely to hear the case.

Trump’s attorneys made similar requests in a previous filing in March in Fulton County Superior Court. They asked Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury, to step aside and let another judge hear the Trump team’s claims. McBurney kept the case and has yet to rule.

Judge blocks Georgia DA from developing case against Republican state senator in Trump investigation

In their legal petition to the state Supreme Court, Trump’s lawyers argued they were “stranded between the Supervising Judge’s protracted passivity and the District Attorney’s looming indictment” with no choice other than to ask the high court to intervene.

Willis opened her investigation shortly after Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January 2021 and suggested the state’s top elections official could help him “find” the votes needed to overturn his election loss in the state.

The special grand jury, which did not have the power to issue indictments, was seated last May and dissolved in January after hearing from 75 witnesses and submitting a report with recommendations for Willis. Though most of that report remains under wraps for now, the panel’s foreperson has said without naming names that the special grand jury recommended charging multiple people.

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Georgia Supreme Court rejects Trump bid to shut down 2020 election investigation