Former US President and 2024 Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump gestures about weight lifting as he speaks at a Republican volunteer recruitment event at Fervent, a Calvary Chapel, in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 8, 2023.
Patrick T. Fallon | Afp | Getty Images
The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously dismissed a longshot bid by former President Donald Trump to disqualify quash the special grand jury report that recommended criminal charges in the Fulton County district attorney’s probe of Georgia’s 2020 election.
The state Supreme Court also rejected Trump’s request that it bar Fulton DA Fani Willis from continuing to oversee the criminal investigation.
The ruling came weeks before Willis is expected to seek indictments in the probe of efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory over him in the Peach State.
So far, no one has been criminally charged in the investigation. And the identities of more than a dozen people who the special grand jury recommended be prosecuted remain secret.
The Supreme Court said that Trump’s attorneys failed to show that the case presents “one of those extremely rare circumstances” that requires bypassing lower courts.
Trump’s legal team has a pending similar request in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta to bar the special grand jury’s work and report from being used in any future civil or criminal proceeding.
In a petition four days ago, Trump’s attorneys acknowledged that it would be highly unusual for the state Supreme Court to take the case, since that body normally reviews appeals from lower courts.
But they argued that the Supreme Court should take up the matter directly, in part because of Trump’s status as a former president and a 2024 presidential candidate.
And, as they did in their petition in Fulton County court, the lawyers argued that the evidence compiled by the special grand jury in the election probe was “unlawfully obtained.”
In its dismissal Monday of Trump’s petition, the Supreme Court said it has “made clear that a petitioner cannot invoke this Court’s original jurisdiction as a way to circumvent the ordinary channels for obtaining the relief he seeks without making some showing that he is being prevented fair access to those ordinary channels.”
And Trump “makes no showing that he has been prevented fair access to the ordinary channels,” the justices wrote.
Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Supreme Court’s ruling.
The special grand jury heard evidence and testimony from dozens of witnesses last year, but it did not have the power to return indictments.
Last week, two regular Superior Court grand juries were empaneled that soon be tasked with deciding whether to criminally charge Trump and his allies.
Willis’ criminal investigation began in 2021, shortly after the public revelation that Trump had called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and pressured him to “find” enough votes to reverse Biden’s win in the state.
Raffensperger rebuffed that request, which was part of an effort by Trump and his allies to either reverse his loss in the Electoral College to Biden, or to raise enough doubt about the results in several key swing states like Georgia to throw the decision about who would be president to the House of Representatives.
Trump is currently the leading candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Since launching his campaign he has already been indicted in two other criminal cases.
In New York state court in Manhattan, he has pleaded not guilty in Manhattan to charges of falsifying business records in connection with a 2016 hush money payment to a porn star, Stormy Daniels.
And he also has pleaded not guilty in Florida federal court to charges related to his retention of classified records after he left the White House.
The special counsel in the classified records case, Jack Smith, separately is investigating Trump for possible crimes in his attempt to reverse his national loss in the 2020 election, and for his actions leading up to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot by a mob of his supporters at the U.S. Capitol.
A joint session of Congress was met that day to certify Biden’s win in the Electoral College.