News media outlets oppose Trump’s bid to expunge special grand jury report

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

A number of news media companies, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on Monday filed a motion opposing Donald Trump’s attempt to expunge the final report from the special purpose grand jury that investigated possible criminal meddling in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

“Not only is such a remedy unsupported by any legal basis, it would also be starkly at odds with the fundamental principles of this nation and state,” the motion said. “The report is a matter of the utmost public concern, and it should be released to the public in its entirety.”

Among those joining the AJC were CNN, Bloomberg, The Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times as well as CMG Media Corp. and its station WSB-TV.

In interviews with the AJC, special grand jurors said their final report recommends that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis seek indictments against a number of unidentified individuals. In a recent letter to local law enforcement officials, Willis warned them to prepare security for her charging decisions that could come in July or August.

The motion filed by Trump’s attorneys in March, and later joined by alternate elector Cathy Latham, asserted the Georgia statute allowing for the operation of special grand juries was unconstitutionally vague. It also said publication of the final report violated the former president’s rights to fundamental fairness and due process.

But this argument “ignores the plain language of the Georgia code and the history of special purpose grand juries in this state,” the media companies’ motion said. “Similarly, President Trump’s contention that he has ‘due process’ rights to seek expungement of the report conflicts with well-established constitutional law.”

Representing the media outlets are Atlanta attorneys Tom Clyde, Lesli Gaither and Kurtis Anderson. They are also appealing a decision by Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney to publish only portions of the final report.

“The report should be filed on the public docket,” their motion said. “Additionally, the report should be published in the manner the special grand jury requested. The court should deny the motion’s request to have the report permanently ‘quashed and expunged from the record.’”

Fulton prosecutors are also expected to file their response to Trump’s motion on Monday.