May 18, 2023

Signs point to mid

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis poses for a portrait, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Atlanta.

ATLANTA — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is setting the stage, poised to raise the curtain on her investigation into election interference allegations against former President Donald Trump by mid-August.

In a letter to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Granville, Willis requested that judges not schedule trials during the weeks beginning Monday, Aug. 7 and Aug. 14, saying during that time she has plans for 70% of her staff to work remotely.

She also said that during that timeframe her leadership team, armed investigators, case intake and juvenile court personnel will still be onsite.

A Georgia judge who has overseen the court battle has said he has heard enough in the ongoing dispute between Trump and the Fulton County DA.

Trump's attorney had asked the Fulton County Superior Court to quash the special-purpose grand jury report from the investigation, and disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney's Office from the investigation into or prosecution of alleged election interference.

That request has fallen on deaf ears, with Judge Robert McBurney saying, "To date, the court has received well over five hundred pages of briefing, argument and exhibits on the issues raised by former President Trump and Ms. Latham. There will be no more briefing unless it is solicited, in writing, by the court."

A group of former federal and Georgia state prosecutors agreed that it was time for the case to move forward, filing a May 19 motion opposing Trump's attempt to quash the special grand jury report and recuse the Fulton County DA's office from investigating alleged 2020 general election interference.

Attorneys who signed on to that motion included:

• Donald Ayer, former deputy attorney general under President George H.W. Bush, former U.S. attorney in Sacramento, former assistant U.S. attorney in San Francisco.

• John Farmer, former attorney general for New Jersey, former attorney in the Office of the U.S. Attorney in Newark.

• Stuart Gerson, former President George H.W. Bush appointee as assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice.

• Tanya Miller, former prosecutor for Fulton County and Atlanta-based civil rights attorney.

• J. Tom Morgan, former district attorney for DeKalb County, Georgia.

• Sarah Saldana, former United States attorney for the Northern District of Texas, former director of immigration and customs enforcement under President Barack Obama.

• William F. Weld, former two-term governor of Massachusetts, former assistant U.S. attorney general in charge of the criminal division of the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., former U.S. attorney for Massachusetts during the Ronald Reagan administration.

• Shan Wu, assistant U.S. attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice from 1990-2001.

On a recorded phone call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after the 2020 general election, Trump can be heard pressing Raffensperger to "find" 11,870 votes, which would have given him the victory in Georgia, surpassing President Joe Biden's total.

The 26-person special-purpose grand jury, which recommended indictments following its nine-month investigation interviewing 75 witnesses, looked into Trump's phone calls with Georgia officials; more than a dozen Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely declaring Trump as the winner; and the alleged copying of data and software from election equipment in Coffee County by a computer forensics team hired by Trump allies.

In a letter to local law enforcement in April, Willis said she plans to announce a charging decision between July 11 and Sept. 1 related to criminal interference in the state's 2020 election, and she requested heightened security from law enforcement pending the announcement.

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