A Georgia judge ruled on Monday that portions of a Fulton County grand jury’s report into possible election interference by former President Donald Trump and his associates be made public this week.
Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled in an eight-page ruling that the report’s introduction and conclusion, as well as section VIII, in which jurors express concern that some witnesses may have lied under oath, can be made public. He did not identify those witnesses.
The Fulton County district attorney’s office convened the special purpose grand jury to investigate “‘the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 elections in the State of Georgia,’ and to prepare a report on whether anyone should be prosecuted for such potential crimes,” according to the district attorney’s office.
Last month, the grand jury reported its findings to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in a report. Willis will decide whether or not to present evidence to a grand jury in order to obtain criminal indictments.
McBurney stated in his ruling on Monday that the report includes recommendations for “who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what,” but that those portions would be sealed for the time being.
A group of news organisations had petitioned him to release the report, and he agreed with some of their arguments.
“[W]hile publication may not be convenient for the pacing of the District Attorney’s investigation, the compelling public interest in these proceedings, as well as the undeniable value and importance of transparency,” McBurney wrote.
He stated that he scheduled the release for Thursday so that the parties involved could make any necessary redactions.
McBurney stated that the remainder of the report should not be released “until the District Attorney completes her investigation.”
“I believe Judge McBurney’s order is legally sound and consistent with my request,” Willis said in a statement. I have no intention of appealing today’s order.”
Willis convened the special grand jury last year because the panel possessed the authority to issue subpoenas compelling witnesses to testify.
Among those questioned were Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and a number of people who acted as “alternate electors” to those who were duly elected in the state.
Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both of whom Trump and his supporters pressed to change the outcome of the 2020 election, also testified.
Among the incidents investigated by the grand jury was a phone call on Jan. 2, 2021, in which Trump urged Raffensperger, the state’s top election official, to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. “This is all I want to do. I just need 11,780 votes, which is one more than we currently have. Because we won the state,” Trump stated during the phone call.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and referred to the investigation as a “witch hunt.”