The judge rejected Trump’s bid to quash the Georgia investigation as charges approached

The judge rejected Trump's bid to quash the Georgia investigation as charges approached

Written by Joseph X

(Reuters) – The judge presiding over a Georgia grand jury investigation into Donald Trump on Monday rejected the former US president’s attempt to disqualify the lead attorney general and block any indictments stemming from an investigation that is expected to lead to charges in the coming weeks.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney also denied Trump’s request to overturn a special grand jury report that included recommendations on whom to indict in connection with a campaign to overturn the results of the 2020 Georgia election, when Democrat Joe Biden narrowly held the state in charge.

The report remained sealed listing the charges pending in the case.

Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis has indicated she intends to ask a grand jury to confirm charges sometime in the next three weeks, telling judges her staff will mostly work remotely as a safety precaution.

Security barriers were erected outside the county courthouse last week.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has accused Willis, an elected Democrat, of political motives. A spokesperson and his legal team in Georgia did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A Willis spokesman declined to comment.

Trump’s lawyers have made a separate, long-running bid to disqualify Willis, who will be heard by another judge next week. This application is assigned to a judge of another county because he names McBurney in addition to Willis; As a result, all Fulton County judges were barred from hearing it.

Willis had been investigating Trump’s attempt to reverse the 2020 election since January 2021, shortly after Trump was taped in a phone call asking the state’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory.

The broad investigation also examined the conduct of Trump’s attorneys, including Rudy Giuliani, and a group of individuals who acted as surrogate voters in a failed attempt to award the state’s electoral votes to Trump rather than to Biden.

A special grand jury convened at Willis’ request to assist in her investigation. The jury, which had subpoena power but not indictment power, heard testimony from dozens of witnesses.

Trump has falsely claimed that elections in Georgia and elsewhere were marred by widespread fraud, even though dozens of court rulings have found no evidence to support them.

In his nine-page decision, McBurney said Trump’s attempt to block the investigation was premature, given no charges have yet been filed, and that he would have ample opportunity to challenge the eligibility of the investigation if and when he faces indictment.

McBurney also said Trump did not show Willis acted in a biased manner, despite giving press interviews and tweeting about the case.

He wrote, “The Attorney General’s drumbeat was neither partisan (in the political sense) nor personal, in marked and refreshing contrast to the stream of personal protest flowing from one of the movers.”

(Reporting by Joseph X; Additional reporting by Ramy Ayoub; Editing by Howard Goller and Lisa Shumaker)

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