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Trump seeks disqualification of Georgia election probe prosecutor

Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, July 7, 2023. Reuters/File
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, July 7, 2023. Reuters/File

Trump’s lawyers are requesting Georgia’s highest court to prevent the district attorney, Fani Willis, from prosecuting him and to discard a special grand jury report related to the investigation into his actions after the 2020 election. 

Willis has been investigating whether Trump and his allies violated any laws in their attempts to overturn his election loss in Georgia. She has indicated that she may seek charges from a grand jury soon. 

Trump’s legal team filed petitions in both the Georgia Supreme Court and Fulton County Superior Court, naming Willis and Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury. The filings are unusual but necessary due to the urgency of the situation. Willis plans to use the special grand jury report to seek an indictment within weeks, and two new regular grand juries have been seated, with one likely to hear the case.

Trump’s lawyers argue that the proceedings have not followed normal procedures and have been marked by anomalies, suggesting bias against Trump. The petitions aim to prevent Willis and her office from continuing to prosecute the case and to discard the special grand jury report. They also seek to prevent prosecutors from using evidence obtained from the investigation in a regular grand jury.

In a previous filing, Trump’s lawyers requested that a different judge hear their claims, but Willis rejected those arguments. McBurney has yet to rule on the requests, leaving Trump “stranded” between the judge’s delay and the potential indictment, according to his lawyers.

Willis initiated the investigation after Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, in which he asked Raffensperger to find enough votes to overturn his election loss. She convened a special grand jury with subpoena power to compel witnesses to testify.

The special grand jury, which could not issue indictments, concluded its work last January, submitting a report with recommendations. Although most of the report remains confidential, the foreperson revealed that multiple individuals were recommended for charges.

Trump’s lawyers argue that the special grand jury proceedings lacked clarity, inconsistent application of constitutional protections, and conflicts of interest within the prosecutor’s office. Willis countered these arguments, stating that they did not meet the necessary standards to disqualify a prosecutor or prove violations of due process or unconstitutional conduct.

According to Trump’s attorneys, Willis and McBurney violated procedural safeguards, rendering the entire process legally unsound and lacking public respectability.

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