The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday rejected former President Donald Trump’s long-shot bid to throw out a special grand jury’s investigative findings and disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the proceedings.
The court, whose nine justices were mostly appointed by Republican governors, unanimously rejected Trump’s motion just three days after he filed it. Trump sought the court order ahead of a widely expected indictment in Willis’ probe into his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.
Trump’s legal team conceded in its filing that they could find “no case in 40 years” where the court had intervened this way. The court said in its ruling that Trump had “not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances in which this court’s original jurisdiction should be invoked, and therefore, the petition is dismissed.”
The ruling added that Trump’s lawyers had not shown “either the facts or the law necessary to mandate Willis’s disqualification.”
Trump’s lawyers previously filed a motion to Judge Robert McBurney in the Atlanta Superior Court to quash much of the evidence collected by Willis and boot her off the case but the judge has yet to rule.
“Stranded between the supervising judge’s protected passivity and the district attorney’s looming indictment, petitioner has no meaningful option other than to seek this court’s intervention,” Trump’s lawyers argued in their filing on Friday.
“Trump’s motion to quash the Georgia grand jury investigation and remove prosecutor Fani Willis from the case was the legal equivalent of a Hail Mary. The Georgia Supreme Court swatted it away,” former U.S. Attorney Barb McQuade wrote on Twitter.
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out that Trump “got crushed today by the very Republican Supreme Court of Georgia.”
But Georgia State University Law Prof. Anthony Michael Kreis wrote that while Georgia’s Supreme Court is “right-of-center,” the “justices are very serious jurists who aren’t going to run political interference for Trump.”
“The Georgia Supreme Court’s order dismissing Trump’s petition for extraordinary relief is embarrassing and pointed but it is an honest reflection of Trump’s current legal strategy in Georgia, which is best described as zealously throwing spaghetti against the wall,” he wrote.
The law professor explained that there were multiple reasons that the petition was rejected, not least of which was that “the brief was a mess” and “wasn’t clear what relief was being asked for and why.”
“Much of the brief was based on conjecture and claims that were not about defending Trump’s rights but asserting third parties’ rights,” he explained. And “when we say Trump was asking for *extraordinary* relief the name really fits. Asking the Georgia Supreme Court to exercise original jurisdiction in this way for the first time in 40 years (as admitted by counsel) is out-of-step with this court’s practice.”
A special grand jury earlier this year issued a final report that remains largely sealed but is reported to have recommended multiple indictments. But the special grand jury does not have indictment power and the evidence is now being heard by a regular grand jury in Fulton County.
Willis wrote a letter to law enforcement in April warning them to ramp up security ahead of planned charging decisions this summer and in another letter narrowed down the possible dates to between July 31 and Aug. 18, asking that no in-person activity proceedings be scheduled at the county courthouse during that time.
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