Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys have made a startling move in the case that could be coming against their client in Georgia.
This week the attorneys asked the Georgia Supreme Court to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the case and stop the special grand jury’s recommendation that charges be filed, CNN reported.
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.
In March the attorneys made the same request to the Fulton Superior Court.
“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.
Willis’ office hit back at that request with its own filing to the court.
“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.
The District Attorney’s office said that “most of the arguments are barred by lack of standing, untimeliness, and other procedural flaws, and any remaining arguments are without merit.”
The Georgia probe into former President Donald Trump may be expanding to include other states in a racketeering case, it was reported in June.
Two people familiar with the case said that the probe related to the former president and his allies has expanded to include Washington D.C. and other states, a signal that the prosecutor may be using Georgia’s racketeering laws to form a bigger case, The Washington Post reported.
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.