Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis intimated on Tuesday that the decision on whether to file criminal charges against former President Donald Trump for his efforts to challenge the outcome of Georgia’s presidential election is “imminent.”
The revelation came as Willis opposed the release of a report by a special purpose grand jury that spent months investigating Trump’s actions after the election, according to CBS News.
“We are asking that this report not be released, because, you having seen that report, decisions are imminent,” Willis told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney during a hearing Tuesday.
Willis told the judge that she was “one of the few people to have had the opportunity to read the report,” and said releasing it “at this time” would be inappropriate. The filing of criminal charges against a former U.S. president would be the first time in U.S. history and threatens to upend Trump’s announced 2024 presidential bid.
At the center of the probe is a January 2021 phone call between Trump and Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who recorded the call. Trump’s remark that he wanted Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to prove that he won the state is being portrayed nefariously by critics.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump had said. “Because we won the state.”
The 23-person special purpose grand jury, which was dissolved earlier this month, spent nearly seven months investigating Trump and his allies, interviewing 75 witnesses — among the high-profile figures who testified were Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, and Raffensperger.
The special purpose grand jury, which can recommend charges but cannot indict, voted in favor of releasing the report.
CBS News was among a broad coalition of media organizations that submitted a filing Monday arguing for the release, with their attorneys arguing that “the public interest in the report is extraordinary.”
“We believe the report should be released now, and in its entirety, and that approach is consistent with the way the American judicial system operates,” Tom Clyde, an attorney for the media coalition, said, according to the network.
“It is not unusual for a district attorney or a prosecuting authority to be uncomfortable with having to release information during the progress of a case,” he added. “The jurors themselves have asked for it to be published.”
McBurney was in no hurry to make a decision, saying at Tuesday’s hearing that he needed to “think about this a little bit.” The judge said he would be contacting both sides with follow-up questions and added that he expected that his final decision would be appealed.
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