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Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have a court date next month in Fulton County, Ga., in what could become a major case ahead of the 2024 election.
Trump’s lawyers will seek to have District Attorney Fani Willis disqualified from potentially prosecuting him in an investigation linked to potential interference in Georgia during the 2020 election, Just the News reported.
According to Fox 5 Atlanta, Trump’s legal team submitted a motion requesting a different judge to preside over the district attorney’s case instead of Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney. They argued that McBurney has allegedly disregarded Trump’s attempts to dismiss the report and disqualify Willis from the case, the outlet reported.
“Senior Superior Court Judge Stephen Schuster ordered Friday for both sides to submit their briefs on the issue by Aug. 8. Schuster, a former Cobb County judge, received the case after all Fulton judges were recused because the motion involved McBurney,” Just the News noted.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported as well that the former president is additionally attempting to quash the final grand jury report, which proposes indictments for several unnamed individuals and aims to bar the district attorney’s office from utilizing the evidence gathered by the grand jury.
Legal experts view Trump’s motion as a longshot, but it coincides with the possibility that Willis might soon seek a grand jury to issue indictments, potentially involving the former president.
McBurney was added to the Trump filing after he managed the special purpose grand jury that heard from nearly 75 witnesses in the 2020 election probe, Just the News noted further.
Earlier this month, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected a similar effort by Team Trump to bar Willis from prosecuting him.
“…[W]ith regard to Petitioner’s request to disqualify Willis from representing any party in any and all proceedings involving him, we note only that Petitioner has not presented in his original petition either the facts or the law necessary to mandate Willis’s disqualification by this Court at this time on this record,” the justices said. “For these additional reasons, Petitioner has not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances in which this Court’s original jurisdiction should be invoked, and therefore, the petition is dismissed,” the state’s highest court ruled. “All the Justices concur.”
Meanwhile, according to The Guardian, Willis “has weighed several potential statutes under which to charge, including solicitation to commit election fraud and conspiracy to commit election fraud, according to two people briefed on the matter.”
The actions by Willis to compile a list of potential charges represent a significant milestone in the criminal investigation and indicate that prosecutors are moving forward with their plans to seek indictments from a grand jury next month, the outlet continued.
The prosecutors are reportedly examining several state election law charges, including criminal solicitation to commit election fraud and conspiracy to commit election fraud. Additionally, they are investigating charges related to solicitation of a public or political officer to neglect their duties and solicitation to destroy, deface, or remove ballots, according to sources who spoke to The Guardian.
The district attorney is additionally aiming to press charges against certain Trump operatives who were involved in accessing voting machines and copying sensitive election data in Coffee County, Georgia, back in January 2021. These charges are likely to include computer trespass crimes, the sources said.
The outlet added: “The outcome of deliberations, as well as the manner in which the statutes might be enforced, remains unknown. For instance, prosecutors could charge under certain statutes individually, fold them into a wider racketeering case of the kind that the Guardian has previously reported, or do a combination.
“Prosecutors are expected to bring charges stemming from the Trump investigation at the start of August, a timeline inferred from the district attorney’s instructions to her staff in May to work remotely during that period because of potential security concerns,” the outlet noted further.