Judge Robert McBurney denied former President Donald Trump’s requests to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and to void the special grand jury’s report in a criminal probe into Trump.
McBurney said that Trump and an “alternate elector,” Cathleen Latham, who signed onto the complaint, do not have legal grounds for the challenge, and that there is no reason to disqualify Willis.
“The District Attorney’s Office has been doing a fairly routine — and legally unobjectionable — job of public relations in a case that is anything but routine,” he said in a report.
Trump’s request was a long-shot effort to avoid prosecution in Fulton County for his efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 presidential election. His complaint alleged that the high-profile nature of the case prevented it from proceeding fairly.
Trump and Latham also sought to conceal the results of the special grand jury from the public forever. McBurney said in the report that permanent silencing is generally not allowed in these types of cases, and the request is “unnecessary.”
McBurney also dismissed a request to prevent the special grand jury report from being used as evidence. The case will resume as normal.
The primary focus of the investigation is Trump’s phone call on Jan. 2, 2021, asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes to help him win Georgia
Criminal charges in the probe are expected to be announced during the court term that began on July 11.
A separate challenge to Willis by Trump’s lawyers will be heard in Cobb County on Aug. 10.
This story comes to Rough Draft Atlanta through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.