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Trump moves to quash Georgia grand jury special report

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump filed a motion Monday to quash the report of a special grand jury that conducted a criminal investigation into whether there were “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the election results of 2020” in Georgia by him and his allies.

In a 51-page filing, Trump’s lawyers asked that all evidence from the special grand jury be ruled unconstitutional. They also requested that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis be “disqualified from further investigation and/or prosecution in this case” or any related matters arising from the use of a grand jury in special purposes.

Willis’ office declined to respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

Donald Trump boards his plane in West Palm Beach, Florida on March 13.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images File

Trump’s attorneys cited the Constitution’s Fifth and 14th Amendments, as well as sections of the Georgia state constitution, saying the grand jury investigation was flawed from the start.

They argued that the state laws that authorized the grand jury are “vague and leave much to interpretation” and that the process and function of the grand jury is “equally sparse, unclear, and sometimes contradictory.”

“This is the framework in which [Fulton County District Attorney’s Office] chose to undertake this investigation of undoubtedly historic and national significance,” Trump’s lawyers asserted. “It is the framework that has been shown through this process to be flawed and, more importantly, unconstitutional.”

They alleged that the grand jury “illegally compelled the attendance and testimony” of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp “despite his valid assertion of sovereign immunity” and “numerous witnesses from outside the State of Georgia.”

They also criticized Willis for “regularly sitting down for interviews with various media about this.”

“Prosecutors should be cautious about making comments that could cause significant harm to criminal proceedings or that enhance the public condemnation of the accused, and they should limit comments to what is necessary to inform the public of the case. prosecutor’s action and serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose,” Trump’s attorneys wrote.

Willis, they wrote, “regularly expressed his personal views on the criminality of the acts under investigation, thereby suggesting the guilt of those who might be charged, and criticized the exercise of constitutional witness rights to the contrary. to the prosecution obligations of the FCDA office”.

Trump’s attorneys also took aim at jury foreman Emily Kohrs, who spoke to multiple outlets last month, including NBC News, and said the grand jury had recommended indictments for more than a dozen. of people.

“The now-widespread statements from the foreman provided first-hand insight into the process — an otherwise historically secret matter,” they wrote. His public comments, they also said, “in themselves also violate notions of fundamental fairness and due process and taint any future grand jury panel.

The filing also argues that the supervising judge was wrong to designate the special purpose grand jury as a criminal rather than a civil matter – which they say resulted in an improper investigative process.

“The public cannot have confidence in the impartiality of this constitutionally unfounded investigation,” they alleged. “The results of this tainted investigation included in the final report will negatively impact the due process rights of the appointees, and the report should be removed as it violates principles of fundamental fairness.”

The motion from Trump’s lawyers on Monday marks the first formal filing they have made in the Georgia investigation.

The grand jury completed its work in January, submitting a report of its findings to Willis. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled last month that parts of the grand jury report could be made public. Willis’s office, however, had requested that the entire report be kept secret for the time being.

In unsealed parts of the report released last month, grand jurors said they believed some witnesses may have lied under oath.

Among the incidents Willis examines is Trump’s January 2021 phone call with Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he urged the state’s top election official to reverse Joe Biden’s victory in the state. . “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more vote than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said on the call. .

In his investigation, Willis also targeted nearly a dozen Georgia “fake voters” in the 2020 presidential election in subpoenas issued last year to appear before the Fulton County Special Grand Jury. After the 2020 election, certificates falsely claiming to be from Trump voters were sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC, by Republicans in seven battleground states that Biden won – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New -Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. This effort ultimately failed.

Rebecca Shabad And Rose Horowitch contributed.


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