In the Georgia lawsuit that could be brought against their client, the defense team for former president Donald Trump has taken a surprising step.
CNN reports that the attorneys have requested that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis be removed from the case and that the special grand jury’s recommendation to file charges be rejected.
Trump’s lawyers filed the separate petitions with the Fulton County Superior Court as well as the Georgia Supreme Court, asking them to intervene with the ongoing grand jury process.
Willis, an elected Democrat, has indicated that final charging decisions could come as soon as next month.
Throughout the probe, Willis used a “special purpose grand jury” to hear evidence from 75 witnesses including Trump advisers, his former attorneys, White House aides and Georgia officials. But Trump’s lawyers argued that these special grand juries are themselves unconstitutional.
“Even in an extraordinarily novel case of national significance, one would expect matters to take their normal procedural course within a reasonable time,” the attorneys said in the motion. “But nothing about these processes have been normal or reasonable. And the all-but-unavoidable conclusion is that the anomalies below are because petitioner is President Donald J. Trump.”
“A regular Fulton County grand jury could return an indictment any day that will have been based on a report and predicate investigative process that were wholly without authority,” they said.
“It is one thing to indict a ham sandwich. To indict the mustard-stained napkin that it once sat on is quite another,” they said.
The attorneys submitted a similar motion to the Fulton Superior Court in March.
“Stranded between the supervising judge’s protracted passivity and the district attorney’s looming indictment, (Trump) has no meaningful option other than to seek this court’s intervention,” the attorneys said.
With its own judicial filing, Willis’s office responded to the court’s request.
“The state respectfully requests that this court retain supervision of this matter and dismiss or deny the motions as appropriate without a hearing,” it said.
According to the District Attorney’s office, “most of the arguments are barred by lack of standing, untimeliness, and other procedural flaws, and any remaining arguments are without merit.”
According to a June report, Georgia may expand its investigation of the former president to include additional states in a racketeering case.
According to two individuals with knowledge of the situation, the investigation into the former president and his associates has now expanded to include the District of Columbia and other states. According to The Washington Post, this indicates that the prosecutor may be using Georgia’s racketeering statutes to construct a larger case.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) launched an investigation more than two years ago to examine efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn his narrow 2020 defeat in Georgia. Along the way, she has signaled publicly that she may use Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute to allege that these efforts amounted to a far-reaching criminal scheme.
In recent days, Willis has sought information related to the Trump campaign hiring two firms to find voter fraud across the United States and then burying their findings when they did not find it, allegations that reach beyond Georgia’s borders, said the two individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about the investigation. At least one of the firms has been subpoenaed by Fulton County investigators.
Willis’s investigation is separate from the one at the Justice Department being led by special counsel Jack Smith, but the two probes have covered some of the same ground. Willis has said she plans to make a charging decision this summer, and she has indicated that such an announcement could come in early August. She has faced stiff criticism from Republicans for investigating the former president, and the ever-widening scope suggests just how ambitious her plans may be.