A judge in Atlanta will hear legal arguments today to determine if he should make public a Georgia grand jury’s report into whether former president Donald Trump committed criminal offences when he tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state.
Before the special purpose grand jury was dissolved two weeks ago after months of hearings, its members recommended releasing its findings while the Fulton county district attorney who launched the investigation, Fani Willis, decides whether to press charges against Trump.
Legal scholars have said they believe Trump is “at substantial risk of prosecution” in Georgia over his attempts to strong-arm officials into fixing the election in his favour when it looked as if the state might decide the outcome of the presidential election. At least 18 other people have been told they also potentially face prosecution, including Trump’s close ally and lawyer, the former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
The Fulton county superior court judge who oversaw the grand jury, Robert McBurney, will hear from Willis but not lawyers for Trump, who said on Monday that they will not participate in the hearing. They said that Willis had not sought to interview the former president for the investigation.
“Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump,” the lawyers said in a statement.
Willis’s office has not said what its position will be at the hearing, but the prosecutor may see an advantage in releasing at least part of the report if she intends to press ahead with charges.
The rarely used special purpose grand jury cannot issue indictments; if it recommends prosecutions, Willis would be required to ask a regular grand jury to formalise the charges.
McBurney is not expected to immediately rule on whether the report should be released.
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