Fulton County Superior Court Judge Delivers Ruling on Trump’s Bid to Derail Potential Charges in Georgia

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.

Former President Donald Trump’s attempt to stop any legal action that might be taken against him for allegations that he attempted to rig the 2020 presidential election has been rejected by a state judge in Georgia.

Judge Robert McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court ruled against Trump’s bid on Monday morning, stating in a nine-page decision that it is simply too early for Trump or his supporters to attempt to stop Georgia prosecutors from looking into him, largely due to the fact that he has not yet been indicted, Politico reported.

“While being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigation,” wrote McBurney, who spent a year overseeing District Attorney Fani Willis’ special grand jury investigation of Trump’s election-related actions.

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Willis has hinted that she will likely make her final charging decisions in August, and many believe she will recommend charges against Trump and a long list of potential enablers who helped him attempt to tamper with the results of the elections in Georgia and other states won by Joe Biden.

Trump will then have the opportunity to file motions to contest the events leading up to the charges, according to McBurney.

“Guessing at what that picture might look like before the investigative dots are connected may be a popular game for the media and blogosphere, but it is not a proper role for the courts and formal legal argumentation,” McBurney wrote.

Trump has attacked Willis, a Democrat, saying that she is conducting a political witch hunt against him in order to harm his chances of winning the 2024 presidential election. Courts have supported Willis’ efforts to haul in dozens of Trump’s top aides and allies, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, and former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

McBurney claimed that Trump had not provided any supporting evidence for those assertions.

“While both sides have done enough talking, posting, tweeting (“X’ing”?), and press conferencing to have hit (and perhaps stretched) the bounds of Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct … neither movant has pointed to any averments from the District Attorney or her team of lawyers expressing a belief that Trump … is guilty or has committed this or that offense,” the judge wrote.

“Put differently, the District Attorney’s Office has been doing a fairly routine — and legally unobjectionable — job of public relations in a case that is anything but routine,” he wrote.

McBurney acknowledged the chance that a false indictment might harm someone’s reputation but said that anyone alleging misconduct, however, must be specific.

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“The Court appreciates that ‘a wrongful indictment is no laughing matter; often it works grievous, irreparable injury to the person indicted,'” McBurney wrote. “However, in this situation, movants’ rather overwrought allegations of prosecutorial overreach and judicial error do not suffice to show that there is a significant risk of ‘wrongful’ indictment.”

Attorneys for 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.

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Trump’s legal team submitted a motion requesting a different judge to preside over the district attorney’s case instead of McBurney. They argued that McBurney has allegedly disregarded Trump’s attempts to dismiss the report and disqualify Willis from the case.

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.

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