OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A legal expert addressed a pending legal case against former President Donald Trump in Fulton County, Ga., saying that an action taken by the prosecutor in the case this week indicates that indictments are forthcoming.
On Thursday’s episode of the Bulwark Podcast, Charlie Sykes invited legal expert and LawFare.com editor Benjamin Wittes to discuss the various legal challenges facing Trump.
Wittes and Sykes delved into each of the legal cases that Trump is currently facing. They ultimately focused on Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who recently convened a special grand jury to investigate allegations of Trump’s attempted influence on Georgia’s election officials during the 2020 presidential election. Willis is also leading an investigation into the so-called fake-electors scheme, a strategy pushed by Trump allies in what some believe was an attempt to overturn the election results in Georgia, Mediaite reports.
Wittes noted that Willis had previously indicated in January that a charging decision in the Trump case was “imminent,” adding further that a recent letter did not receive sufficient media attention but revealed her hand.
Wittes suggested a trio of possible reasons for the charging delay, first arguing that there may be no actual delay: “She’s working on implementing it, and that just takes some time.”
“Here’s some other things we know. We know that just as the special grand jury was finishing its work in December, the January 6th committee dumped 250 depositions into the public domain. And that came too late for the special grand jury to consider any of it,” Wittes continued, per Mediaite.
But if you’re the prosecutors who are then going to bring cases based on the special grand jury work, you undoubtedly have a due diligence obligation to go through all of those 250, at least the ones that could be relevant to your case with care and make sure that the testimony is consistent with the testimony many of those same witnesses gave to you, or that there isn’t material that contradicts or that there isn’t material that requires that you then go interview further people.
So a second possibility is that the January 6th committee threw a bit of a wrench into their spokes just with the way it wrapped up its business.
And then a third factor, which has spilled out into the public a little bit is that there are clearly negotiations between Fani Willis and some of the Georgia fake electors over immunity deals.
And these discussions have been complicated by the fact that a whole bunch of potential defendants in these cases are represented by the same lawyers who are, you know, closely aligned with Donald Trump. It’s a very similar situation as developed with Cassidy Hutchison in the January 6th Committee matter.
And Fani Willis recently went into court and sought to disqualify one of those lawyers on grounds of conflict of interest because the lawyer was representing multiple people whose interests were not necessarily aligned. And so one possibility as well is that it’s been delayed by the fact that, you know, she thinks that there are people who might want to offer information in exchange for immunity who are not in a position to do so because of who their lawyers are. And so resolving that may be a time commitment.
Wittes then said: “I do think, however, that Fani Willis, in a way that didn’t get enough attention this week, kind of showed her hand, which is to say she wrote a letter to the court asking for a whole bunch of protective resources around the court, around her office, in the context of indictments that were going to come over the summer.”
“And that is undoubtedly a reference to, the letter was in the context of this case. And so it’s not subtle what she’s talking about. She’s gearing up for a New York-like case and needs a degree of police presence that that court has never had to deal with,” he added, referencing the protests outside the Lower Manhattan court where Trump was arraigned in early April.
“So I think she’s basically said that sometime between in July or August, she’s going to bring the case against Donald Trump. She hasn’t said that explicitly. But I, I cannot understand another way to read what she has said,” Wittes said in conclusion.