Trump loses Georgia Supreme Courtroom movement in election probe
Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures at weightlifting as he speaks at a Republican volunteer recruitment event at Fervent, a Calvary Chapel, in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 8, 2023.
Patrick T Fallon | Afp | Getty Images
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected a protracted attempt by former President Donald Trump to overturn the grand jury’s special report recommending criminal charges in the Fulton County District Attorney’s investigation of the 2020 Georgia election.
The state Supreme Court also denied Trump’s request to bar Fulton Attorney Fani Willis from continuing to oversee the criminal investigation.
The ruling came weeks before Willis is expected to face charges as part of an investigation into efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory over him in the Peach State.
So far, no one has been criminally charged in the investigation. And the identities of more than a dozen people recommended by the special grand jury for prosecution remain classified.
The state Supreme Court said Trump’s attorneys failed to show the case was in “one of those extremely rare circumstances” that required bypassing the lower courts.
Trump’s legal team is pending a similar motion in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta to bar the use of the special grand jury’s work and report in any future civil or criminal proceeding.
In a petition four days ago, Trump’s lawyers conceded that it would be highly unusual for the state Supreme Court to take the case, since that body normally reviews appeals from lower courts.
However, they argued that the court should deal with the matter directly, in part due to Trump’s status as a former president and a 2024 presidential nominee.
And, as in their petition in the Fulton County court, the attorneys argued that the evidence assembled by the special grand jury in the election investigation was “wrongly obtained.”
In its dismissal of Trump’s petition Monday, the Supreme Court said it “clarified that a plaintiff cannot invoke the original jurisdiction of that court to circumvent the usual channels for obtaining the relief he seeks without showing that he deserves a just avoidance.” access to these ordinary channels.
And Trump “does not show that he was denied fair access to regular channels,” the judges wrote.
Trump’s attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Supreme Court ruling.
The special grand jury heard evidence and testimonies from dozens of witnesses last year but did not have the power to return indictments.
Two regular Supreme Court grand juries were set up last week and will soon be tasked with deciding whether to criminally indict Trump and his allies.
The criminal investigation into Willis began in 2021, shortly after it became public knowledge that Trump had called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and pressured him to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s win in the state.
Raffensperger dismissed that motion, which was part of an effort by Trump and his allies to either reverse his Electoral College loss to Biden or cast enough doubt about the results in several key swing states like Georgia to make the decision on who doing so would be to repeal President of the House of Representatives.
Trump is currently the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.
He has been charged in two other criminal cases since the beginning of his campaign.
He pled not guilty in New York state court in Manhattan to falsifying business records related to a 2016 hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
He also pleaded not guilty in a Florida federal court to keeping classified papers after leaving the White House.
Special Counsel on the classified documents, Jack Smith, is investigating Trump separately for possible crimes in his attempt to redeem his 2020 election defeat and for his actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot by a Trump mob of his supporters in the US Capitol.
That day, a joint session of Congress met to confirm Biden’s Electoral College victory.