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Donald Trump’s Past Could Come Back to Haunt Him (And Put Him in Jail)

1945 logo 1945 1/26/2023 Harrison Kass
Donald Trump © Provided by 1945 Donald Trump

Donald Trump: Headed for More Legal Trouble? Former President Donald Trump is in hot water down in Georgia.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis recently said that the special grand jury investigating Trump’s efforts to interfere with Georgia’s 2020 election process had recommended multiple indictments. Willis will now decide whether to bring charges against Trump; her decision will be “imminent.”

Willis declined to release the special grand jury report because charges are still being deliberated.

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“We want to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, and we think for future defendants to be treated fairly it’s not appropriate at this time to have this report released,” Willis said.

Donald Wakeford, Fulton County’s chief senior assistant district attorney, agreed with Willis. “We think immediately releasing before the district attorney has even had an opportunity to address publicly whether there will be charges or not – because there has not been a meaningful enough amount of time to assess it – is dangerous,” Wakeford said. “It’s dangerous to the people who may or may not be named in the report for various reasons. It’s also a disservice to the witnesses who came to the grand jury and spoke the truth to the grand jury.”

The special grand jury is not capable of making indictments. Instead, the special grand jury is limited to conducting an investigation and issuing a report. The special grand jury’s forthcoming reporting is the result of seven months of research – including extensive interviews with those involved, i.e., Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and former Trump attorney Rudy Guiliani. In total, the special grand jury heard testimony from 75 witnesses.

The final report is expected to include a summary of the special grand jury’s investigative work, their recommendations for indictments, and the alleged conduct that inspired the report’s conclusions.

The Media Wants the Report Now

Naturally, the media wants the special grand jury’s report to be released right now.

A media coalition is pushing for the report’s release. Tom Clyde, an attorney representing the coalition, argued that “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. In other words, it is not unusual for a district attorney or a prosecuting authority to be generally uncomfortable with having to release information during the progress of the case. That occurs all the time.”

The decision will rest with Judge Robert McBurney, however. McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury’s investigation, will decide whether the report should be released publicly – and if so, how much should be released.

“There’ll be no rash decisions,” McBurney said. “No one’s going to wake up with the court having disclosed the report on the front page of the newspaper.”

The media serves a vital role in monitoring and reporting processes like the special grand jury investigation; the media often serves the public interest. But McBurney will need to balance the public’s interest in learning of the special grand jury’s findings against the needs of an ongoing investigation.

Trump’s attorneys commented derisively about the investigation – in part because the investigation never spoke directly with Donald Trump.

“The grand jury compelled testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking, officials during the investigation, but never found it important to speak with the President,” Trump's attorneys said in a statement. “Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump.”

I can’t speak to the report’s findings, or whether Trump committed crimes during Georgia’s 2020 election process. But the logic of Trump’s attorneys here is, obviously, deeply flawed.

We’ll know soon whether Fulton County brings charges against the former president.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.

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