Trump asks court to disqualify Georgia DA, toss election report

Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, July 7, 2023.

Scott Morgan | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump asked two courts in Georgia to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from investigating him and quash the special grand jury report that recommended criminal charges in Willis’ 2020 election interference probe.

The requests came in court documents filed overnight in Georgia Supreme Court and Fulton County Superior Court. In both, Trump’s attorneys argued that Willis “seeks an indictment” against Trump based on evidence that was “unlawfully obtained.”

The filings came three days after Fulton County Superior Court empaneled two grand juries that could soon decide whether to charge Trump and his allies over their efforts to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden in Georgia’s 2020 election.

Willis has indicated that indictments related to the probe could come in August.

These newly seated grand juries are separate from the special purpose grand jury which heard evidence and testimony from dozens of witnesses last year. That grand jury submitted a final report, most of which remained under seal as of Friday.

The special grand jury did not have the power to indict, and Willis was not required to follow its recommendations. The two recently empaneled grand juries in Fulton County do have the power to indict, however.

They will meet twice a week throughout the term to hear numerous cases and decide whether to return a “true bill” of indictment or issue a “no bill” and drop the case.

Attorneys for Trump noted in their petition to the Georgia Supreme Court that they had asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney in March to quash the special grand jury report and disqualify Willis.

McBurney has not yet issued a ruling, and Trump’s attorneys worried that an indictment could arrive before he delivers one. But, they argued that this would leave Trump “struggling to disentangle himself from a net that was not lawfully cast.”

The lawyers acknowledged that it was highly unusual to make a request directly to the state’s supreme court, which reviews decisions made by lower courts. But, they argued that Trump’s status as a former president and a candidate in 2024 merited special consideration.

“If Petitioner’s case is not sufficiently extraordinary for this Court to exercise jurisdiction, no case could be,” they wrote.

A spokesman for Willis’ office declined to comment. Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment from CNBC on the filings. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported on the court filings.

CNBC Politics

Read more of CNBC’s politics coverage:

In the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, Trump and his allies attempted to alter the vote tallies in key swing states, including Georgia, that Biden won by relatively small margins of votes. 

In several states, Republicans submitted certificates falsely claiming that Trump had won their states’ electoral votes, and insisting that a hand-picked slate of fake electors be permitted to cast electoral votes for Trump.

At least eight of these fake electors have been granted immunity by Willis as part of the Georgia probe, according to court filings in May of this year.

If Trump is indicted by a Georgia grand jury, it would be the third case in which the Republican 2024 presidential front-runner is facing prosecution. 

Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan in March for allegedly falsifying business records. Three months later, he was charged in federal court in Florida with mishandling classified documents. In both cases, Trump has pleaded not guilty.


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