OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
There is an issue with the prosecutor in the investigation into former President Donald Trump and others in Fulton County, Georgia and the judge in the case tore into her.
District Attorney Fani Willis was shredded by the judge overseeing the grand jury for helping fundraise for Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Charlie Bailey who is taking on Republican Burt Jones, who was informed that he is a criminal target of the investigation, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“I don’t know that it’s an actual conflict, but … it’s a ‘what are you thinking’ moment,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said at a hearing on Thursday. “If we’re trying to maintain confidence that this investigation is pursuing facts in a non-partisan sense … That strikes me as problematic.”
Jones’ attorneys claimed that the fundraiser attended by Willis in June raised around $32,000 for his opponent and asked the judge to appoint another prosecutor. The hearing on Thursday was centered around the motion to dismiss Willis from the case.
“The concern I’m working through, is that it’s not a lower case ‘a’ appearance. It’s like a capital ‘a’ with flashy lights fundraiser with the district attorney for the political opponent of someone I’ve named a target of my investigation where I’m the legal adviser to the grand jury and I’m on national media almost nightly talking about this investigation,” the judge said. “That’s problematic.”
Willis’ attorney said that Bailey was competing in a runoff during that fundraiser and it was not known if he would be the nominee to take on Jones. The attorney also argued that Willis has treated Jones the same as any other defendant.
The judge indicated that his ruling would be forthcoming.
Rudy Giuliani has been thrust back into the spotlight, though this time through no fault of his own.
The former mayor of the Big Apple has been ordered by a New York judge to provide testimony before a special grand jury in Georgia that is hearing evidence regarding claims of alleged 2020 election interference in the state by former President Donald Trump and others, according to NBC News, which reviewed court filings.
The order comes after Giuliani, who served as Trump’s personal lawyer in the latter part of the former president’s term, refused to appear at a July 13 hearing before the New York judge to challenge a subpoena that sought his testimony in the probe.
NBC News adds:
Giuliani was subpoenaed earlier this month as a “material witness” by the grand jury called by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to investigate any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections.” The subpoena said Giuliani made statements at legislative hearings in Georgia falsely claiming that there had been “widespread voter fraud” in the state.
In a filing in Fulton County Superior Court on Wednesday, Willis said Giuliani has been ordered to appear before the grand jury on August 9 “and on any such other dates as this court may order.”
“There is evidence that [Giuliani’s] appearance and testimony at the hearing was part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” the subpoena noted.
In addition to Giuliani, the grand jury has also issued subpoenas to other members of Trump’s legal team. It’s not clear who has been called to testify, when, or if those individuals also plan to challenge their subpoenas.
Meanwhile, a Fulton County judge has also ordered Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to provide testimony to the same grand jury on Aug. 2 after his attorneys initially hinted that he would not comply with their subpoena as well.
The subpoena is seeking information regarding phone calls he reportedly made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and members of his staff to inquire about the 2020 election results.
In addition, Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.), an ally of the former president who voted to reject Georgia’s election results after they were certified, is also battling against a subpoena to provide the grand jury with testimony.
“Meanwhile, nearly a dozen of Georgia’s false presidential electors revealed they’ve been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury as well, according to a court filing. An attorney for Willis said in a separate filing that all 16 of the false electors have been notified they are targets of her investigation,” NBC News reported.