Georgia judge orders Fulton County DA to respond to motion Trump filed to dismiss special grand jury report

March 29, 2023
Ben Marquis

Former President Donald Trump is being investigated by Georgia's Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who convened a "special purpose grand jury" to hear evidence and offer recommendations over whether Trump should face criminal charges in relation to his alleged efforts to interfere in that state's 2020 ballot-counting processes.

Attorneys for Trump recently filed a motion to quash that grand jury's final report, and now the judge overseeing the matter has ordered DA Willis to file a response within about a month's time, the Conservative Brief reported.

The motion from Trump's lawyers also called for DA Willis to be disqualified and to halt the entire investigation and potential prosecution against the former president.

DA ordered to respond to Trump's motion to dismiss

In a one-page order filed on Monday, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote, "On 20 March 2023, former President Trump filed a motion that, if granted, would quash the final report of the Special Purpose Grand Jury, a body the Superior Court of Fulton County authorized to investigate possible criminal interference into the 2020 general election in Georgia."

"The motion also seeks the disqualification of the District Attorney’s Office from any further investigation into or prosecution of such alleged interference," the judge continued. "The District Attorney's Office is ORDERED to file a response to the motion no later than 1 May 2023."

"That response, beyond addressing the various contentions in the former President’s motion, should also include an opinion on whether the motion requires a hearing for proper resolution," McBurney added.

The Washington Examiner reported that the motion filed by Trump's attorneys came in response to a final report issued recently by the special purpose grand jury that reportedly recommended that multiple criminal indictments, including for such crimes as conspiracy and racketeering, be filed by the district attorney, though no names of possible defendants have been made public.

DA Willis reportedly began her investigation into the former president in early 2021, shortly after it was revealed through leaks to the media that Trump had personally called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and asked him to try and "find" a sufficient number of votes for him to be declared the winner of the state's disputed 2020 election.

Trump's motion to quash special grand jury

Georgia's GPB reported last week that former President Donald Trump's attorneys in Georgia filed a 51-page motion -- plus more than 430 pages of included exhibits -- that would for all intents and purposes bar DA Willis from acting upon any of the recommendations of the special purpose grand jury that she first assembled in May 2022.

The motion asserts that the special grand jury is unconstitutional and has been tainted by public comments made by participants in the process, and that Judge McBurney had given it "improper legal instructions."

It further alleged that Willis had a "conflict of interest" and personal bias against Trump and stated that the entire process had been "confusing, flawed and, at times, blatantly unconstitutional."

"The SPGJ involved a constant lack of clarity as to the law, inconsistent applications of basic constitutional protections for individuals brought before it, and a prosecutor's office that was found to have an actual conflict yet continued to pursue the investigation," the attorneys wrote. "The errors and flaws detailed above are fatal to the report and recommendations made by the SPGJ as fruit of the poisonous tree."

Whether that motion will ultimately succeed is unclear but seems unlikely. It is also unclear whether Judge McBurney -- who the motion asks to be replaced -- is simply placating Trump by ordering a response instead of simply dismissing the motion or if he may actually suspect there is some valid merits to the arguments raised.

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