A Georgia judge has rejected former President Donald Trump’s request to quash an investigation by a special grand jury into his alleged attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, and to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis from further involvement in the case.
In a nine-page order on Monday, Judge Robert McBurney of the Fulton County Superior Court turned aside a request by Trump’s lawyers to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis from any further involvement in the case. Trump’s motion was joined by Cathleen Latham, one of the “alternate” electors in Georgia who claimed Trump won the state in 2020.
The former president’s attorneys had argued that Willis’ actions are politically motivated and that a report produced by a special grand jury she impaneled is unconstitutional. McBurney, however, disagreed in his ruling: “Having reviewed the pleadings, the court now finds that neither Trump nor Latham enjoys standing to mount a challenge — at this pre-indictment phase of the proceedings — to the continued investigation into and potential prosecution of possible criminal interference in the 2020 general election in Georgia. [W]hile being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigation.” McBurney also said Willis has done nothing to warrant her recusal from the case: “[T]he District Attorney’s Office has been doing a fairly routine — and legally unobjectionable — job of public relations in case that is anything but routine. None of what movants cite rises to the level of justifying disqualification.”
The special grand jury was convened in May 2022 to investigate alleged efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in the state, which Joe Biden won. Willis has spent months probing claims that Trump meddled in the state’s voting process during the 2020 presidential election. A new grand jury was convened in July to consider potential charges in the case. Willis, the district attorney, said over the weekend that a decision on charges would come soon.
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