In Georgia, Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney has opted to allow the release of certain portions of the final report from the work of a special grand jury on the criminal investigation by District Attorney Fani Willis into meddling on Trump’s behalf in the state after the last presidential election concluded.
What will now be released later this week includes the introduction, conclusion, and a portion outlining concerns about potential deception in testimony to the jurors from some portion of the 75 witnesses who answered questions. It’s not immediately clear whether the summarizing materials include conclusions on whether to criminally charge anybody in the case, which the special grand jury was able to recommend but not to formally approve itself. Willis’s team wanted a general delay before releasing the report as the top prosecutor and her associates deal with the question of potential charges, including for those already identified as targets, like Trump ally Rudy Giuliani. A group of media organizations pushed in court for releasing the report, and a court hearing was held towards the end of last month.
The special grand jury was useful for the Trump investigation because of the extended length of time for which it could operate and the singular focus with which it could do so, which distinguished the body from regular grand juries like the jurors from whom Willis might seek formal approval for potential charges. The special grand jury held the power to issue subpoenas compelling testimony and documents, and it exercised this power throughout its months of work, mostly reaching a successful outcome. (Willis ordinarily had to seek approval from judges local to out-of-state witnesses in pursuing their testimony, which didn’t always go according to plan.) Although Trump’s legal team was reportedly mum when asked specifically whether the ex-president was informed he is a target of the Willis probe, it’s already clear that much of her focus, including a call he made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the 2020 election, involves him.
As outlined in The Washington Post, another regular grand jury will convene next month, and Willis could wait at least until then to seek approval for charges because of provisions referenced in the report generally allowing a defendant’s request for trial within two months of the charging jury’s term ending. Thus, starting the journey towards a potential trial at the beginning of a term could give Willis more time. Trump also continues facing scrutiny from other investigators, like Special Counsel Jack Smith at the Justice Department, whose expansive look at political schemes after the last presidential race to keep Trump in power even includes an examination of financial dealings at Trump’s Save America PAC, which is a political and fundraising organization of the former president’s. The New York Times reported a “vast array” of vendors who worked with the Trump team have received subpoenas, responses to which could allow investigators to examine possible circumstances of something like self-dealing.