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Georgia judge rules some of grand jury report in Trump probe be made public

Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said three sections of the grand jury's report on election meddling in Fulton County will be released Thursday.
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A Georgia judge ruled Monday that parts of a Fulton County grand jury's report into possible interference in the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump and his allies be made public this week.

In an eight-page ruling, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled that the report's introduction and conclusion, as well as section VIII, in which jurors express concern that some witnesses may have lied under oath, can be made public. Those witnesses are not identified, he said.

The Fulton County district attorney's office convened the special purpose grand jury for an investigation into “‘the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 elections in the State of Georgia’ and to prepare a report on whether anyone should be prosecuted for such potential crimes.”

The grand jury submitted its findings in a report to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last month. Willis will decide whether to present evidence to a grand jury for criminal indictments.

In his ruling Monday, McBurney said that the report includes recommendations for “who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what,” but that those parts would remain sealed for now.

A group of news organizations had petitioned him to make the report public, and he agreed with some of their reasoning.

"[W]hile publication may not be convenient for the pacing of the District Attorney's investigation, the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release," McBurney wrote.

He said he timed the release for Thursday so the parties involved could make redactions, if necessary.

McBurney said the rest of the report should not be released "until such time as the District Attorney completes her investigation."

Willis applauded the ruling in a statement, saying: “I believe Judge McBurney’s order is legally sound and consistent with my request. I have no plans to appeal today’s order.”

Willis called for the special grand jury last year because the panel had the power to issue subpoenas to force witnesses to testify.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a number of people who acted as "alternate electors" to those who were duly elected in the state were among those questioned.

Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump and his allies pressured to alter the outcome of the 2020 election, also testified.

Among the incidents the grand jury probed was the Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged Raffensperger, the state’s top election official, to overturn Joe Biden’s win. “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state,” Trump said in the call.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and he called the probe a "witch hunt."