Georgia’s top court rejects Trump’s bid to quash grand jury report

The Georgia Supreme Court on Monday unanimously rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the 2020 presidential election probe and to quash a special purpose grand jury’s final report that recommends people be indicted.

Acting promptly to address Trump’s motion filed late Thursday, the state’s highest court said the former president’s legal team had failed to present “extraordinary circumstances” that warranted its intervention. As for Willis, Trump “has not presented in his original petition either the facts or the law” necessary to warrant her disqualification, the court said in an unsigned five-page order.

Willis has signaled that in the coming weeks she will ask one of two recently seated grand juries to hand up an indictment in the election probe. She has not said who could be formally charged, but Trump is expected to be one of the defendants.

With that on the horizon, Trump’s lawyers asked the state Supreme Court to put a halt to the grand jury proceedings and let their motion be heard. It also sought to prevent Willis from using any evidence obtained by the special grand jury, which heard testimony from almost 75 witnesses.

The state Supreme Court said the normal course of action would be for Trump’s legal team to file a petition first before a Fulton Superior Court judge, whose decision could then be appealed. Trump, the order said, cannot turn to the state’s highest court to try and “circumvent the ordinary channels for obtaining the relief he seeks without making some showing that he is being prevented fair access to those ordinary channels.”

Trump’s lawyers did file such a petition in Fulton Superior Court, saying they had done so out of an abundance of caution. No ruling has been issued in that case, which was filed Friday.

The state high court’s order indicated the Superior Court case is likely going nowhere. Even if Trump’s petition had been filed in an appropriate procedural posture, Trump “has not shown that he would be entitled to the relief he seeks,” the state Supreme Court’s order said.

The order noted that the court has considered other petitions — in the Trump case, those called writs of mandamus and prohibition — in only the rarest of circumstances. But Trump, the court said, “has not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances” and for that reason the former president’s petition must be dismissed.

A spokesman for Willis declined to comment on the decision. Trump’s lead attorney, Drew Findling, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.