Georgia’s top court unanimously rejected an attempt by former President Donald Trump to throw out evidence collected by a special grand jury investigation into attempts to subvert the 2020 election in the state and to bar the lead prosecutor from continuing the investigation.
The nine-member Supreme Court of Georgia rebuffed a petition filed by Trump’s legal team in an opinion filed late Monday night. The justices found that Trump had not proved “extraordinary circumstances” necessary for the involvement of the court, rejected Trump’s attempt to throw Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis off the probe, and said that the filing failed to prove that Trump’s constitutional rights were violated by the special grand jury.
The ruling strikes down Trump’s attempt to avoid charges in the probe before they are even filed.
Willis is expected to seek indictments in the probe in the coming weeks. As part of the county’s regular proceedings, two Fulton County grand juries were sworn in earlier this week. They will hear evidence in a number of criminal investigations in the next couple of months. Willis has indicated that she will announce her decision on whether to seek charges during the grand juries’ term, likely between July 31 and Aug. 18.
The opinion comes after Trump’s Georgia-based legal team filed a petition late Thursday seeking to bar any regularly convened grand jury from seeing evidence uncovered during the eight-month special grand jury investigation, including the panel’s final report, and to dismiss Willis entirely. The lawyers argued that the special grand jury was inherently unconstitutional and that continuing the investigation would cause “reputational harm” to Trump “as he seeks his Party’s nomination for the Presidency of the United States via a flagrant disregard for and violation of his fundamental constitutional rights.”
Arguments in the filing echoed a petition earlier this year with the Fulton County Superior Court and to which the judge in the case – whom Trump’s legal team has also attempted to get thrown off the case – has not yet responded. Trump’s lawyers cite the lack of response as the reason for their appeal straight to the top court.
But the lower court’s lack of response does not warrant the leapfrog appeal to the state’s top court, the justices said.
“He makes no showing that he has been prevented fair access to the ordinary channels,” the opinion says, noting that Trump did not ask the justices to compel the lower court to rule, but rather to issues their own findings, outside of the normal appellate process that would typically land a case in front of the top court.
“Instead, he is asking this Court to step in and itself decide the motion currently pending in the superior court. This is not the sort of relief that this Court affords, at least absent extraordinary circumstances that Petitioner has not shown are present here,” the opinion says.