Georgia’s highest court has unanimously rebuffed a last-ditch bid by former President Donald Trump to try to head off a potential indictment for tampering with the results of the 2020 presidential election in that state.
In a five-page decision issued Monday afternoon, all nine justices of the Georgia Supreme Court said Trump’s lawyers had failed to make a persuasive case for shutting down the inquiry led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. She has signaled that indictments are possible in the election-related probe in the next few weeks as a grand jury convenes to consider possible charges.
The Georgia court said Trump was attempting an end-run around the normal process of seeking relief first in lower courts and there was no reason to permit that in these circumstances.
“He makes no showing that he has been prevented fair access to the ordinary channels,” the high court wrote in an opinion not attributed to any specific justice. “He is asking this Court to step in and itself decide the motions currently pending in the superior court. This is not the sort of relief that this Court affords, at least absent extraordinary circumstances that Petitioner has not shown are present here.”
Trump’s lawyers have claimed that Willis has violated the state’s rules governing grand juries in various ways, including by using a special grand jury to investigate potential crimes related to the 2020 presidential election and then presenting that evidence to another, regular grand jury that is considering potential indictments against Trump and his allies.
Trump’s attorneys filed a petition in March with Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, asking that Willis’ probe be halted. McBurney has yet to rule on that motion. The district attorney’s office has defended the investigation, insisting that all the state’s rules have been followed.
The ruling from Georgia’s high court doesn’t block McBurney or any other judge from granting some or all of Trump’s requests, but says the state court of last resort is not willing to do so in the current posture.
Willis’ probe appears to center on pressure Trump and his allies put on Georgia officials the weeks after the 2020 election to try to reverse Trump’s narrow loss to Joe Biden in the state. A key piece of evidence in the probe is an audio recording of a call Trump placed to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger urging him to “find 11,780 votes,” to give Trump the margin of victory in the state.
Various election officials and national GOP figures testified during the special grand jury probe, some following court action to enforce subpoenas for their accounts.
Eight of the Georgia Supreme Court’s nine justices were appointed by Republican governors. One took office in a nonpartisan election.