Trouble for Trump in Georgia

Former president Donald Trump and his allies are facing legal jeopardy in Georgia over interference in the 2020 presidential election. 

A judge in Atlanta is considering releasing a grand jury report, while the district attorney is weighing whether to press charges against the former president and his ally Rudolph Giuliani. 

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will hear legal arguments Tuesday to determine if he should make public a Georgia grand jury’s report into whether Trump committed criminal offenses when he tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state.

An Atlanta prosecutor, the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, appears ready to use the same Georgia statute to prosecute Trump that she used last year to charge dozens of gang members and well-known rappers who allegedly conspired to commit violent crimes.

The court hearing on Tuesday will mark one of the most significant developments in a Georgia investigation examining whether Trump and allies committed a crime in their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

McBurney will soon decide what, if any, parts of a special grand jury report will be made public following an eight-month investigation into efforts by former Trump and his allies to overturn the state’s 2020 election results.

The special purpose grand jury, which was dissolved earlier this month after completing its work, did not have indictment powers but could use gathered evidence and testimony to recommend that Fulton County District Attorney Willis seek charges. 

Several people, ranging from Trump’s one-time personal attorney to Republicans who falsely claimed to be presidential electors, were informed they were targets of the investigation. 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.

Jurors voted to release their report to the public, but the extremely rare nature of the special grand jury and limited legal authority has led to hurdles that could delay disclosure of the findings.

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 favor when it looked as if the state might decide the outcome of the presidential election. 

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 formalize the charges.

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