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A state judge in Georgia has given former President Donald Trump some hope in his effort to have a case brought against him regarding alleged 2020 election interference dismissed outright.
On Monday, Judge Robert McBurney of Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court suggested that Trump’s legal team could have a basis for filing a motion to dismiss the case. McBurney ordered a temporary halt to the grand jury sessions and directed District Attorney Fani Willis (D) to respond by May 1 to Trump’s request that she provide a rationale for pursuing the case.
McBurney’s order reiterated that Trump’s legal team “seeks the disqualification of the District Attorney’s Office from any further investigation into or prosecution of such alleged interference.” Specifically, McBurney is putting the duty on prosecutors to explain why the case against Trump regarding alleged attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results ought to move ahead.
“[Your] response, beyond addressing the various contentions in the former President’s motion, should also include an opinion on whether the motion requires a hearing for proper resolution,” McBurney wrote.
On March 20, Trump’s legal team submitted a request to McBurney seeking to dismiss the case, which coincided with Willis’s announcement of a potential expansion of the investigation into allegations of racketeering and conspiracy.
NEW: Fulton County judge gives DA's office until *May 1* to respond to former President Donald Trump's extraordinary motion to essentially defang a months-long investigation into election interference. #gapol
(And we're still waiting on potential indictments) pic.twitter.com/PlOocimyMO
— stephen fowler (@stphnfwlr) March 27, 2023
According to the Washington Examiner, the special grand jury appointed to aid the investigation has suggested several indictments that may be linked to allegations of conspiracy and racketeering. However, no individuals have been identified as defendants thus far.
Willis initiated the inquiry into claims of election interference shortly after a recording of a phone conversation in January 2021 between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was made public. In the conversation, Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his defeat in Georgia.
The Georgia Superior Court order for Willis to provide a response to Trump’s motion in the investigation coincides with increasing pressure surrounding a distinct inquiry by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) into “hush money” payments made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2016.
Last week, Trump predicted he was about to be indicted by a grand jury convened by Bragg, but it didn’t happen amid reports that Bragg’s case may be falling apart after former Trump attorney Robert Costello testified that Bragg’s “star” witness, Michael Cohen — Trump’s former personal lawyer — may be less than reliable.
In the wake of last week’s Manhattan drama, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called for Bragg to be arrested.
“He (Bragg) should be arrested. You want to know why? We have to stop allowing Democrats to abuse us. It’s like we are a beaten spouse. We need to stand up to the abuse because they are the ones committing crimes,” she said at a rally for Trump, adding that Trump is “the most innocent man in the history of our country.”
Bragg responded on Thursday to a potential indictment and arrest of Trump by issuing a vague statement that did not actually provide any information about what might happen next.
The DA sent a letter to Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee after they sent their own letter “demanding communications, documents, and testimony relating to Bragg’s unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority and the potential indictment of” Trump.
In his letter, Bragg said his office would “publicly state the conclusion of our investigation—whether we conduct our work without bringing charges, or move forward with an indictment.”
“Your letter dated March 20, 2023, (the ‘Letter’), in contrast, is an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution. The letter only came after Donald Trump created a false expectation that he would be arrested the next day and his lawyers reportedly urged you to intervene. Neither fact is a legitimate basis for a congressional inquiry,” he wrote.
The case involves Trump’s alleged role in hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, allegedly to keep Daniels quiet about an affair the two of them had in 2006.
A report last week from The Daily Mail reveals there’s speculation that prosecutors have hit problems in building their case.
“They are having trouble convincing the jury to swallow the case. It’s a weak case and has caused divisions in the DA’s office,” a source allegedly told the outlet.