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Witnesses in Trump election probe spotted at Georgia courthouse ahead of possible indictments

The former president, meanwhile, was trashing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on social media — and said one witness shouldn't testify.
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ATLANTA — Key witnesses in the probe into whether former President Donald Trump and his allies interfered with the 2020 presidential election in Georgia have been testifying at the Fulton County Courthouse on Monday as prosecutors appear poised to seek indictments imminently.

The judge who would receive any indictments, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, was still in the courthouse after 5 p.m. ET when the courthouse typically closes, suggesting more activity was likely Monday evening.

“Only one other thing that’s going to happen today, so when it’s time, let me know, I’ll come on out,” he told his courtroom deputies before stepping away from the bench.

Around 7 p.m., McBurney told reporters he'd been told he would need to stick around for another hour.

A docket appeared on the Fulton County court website shortly after noon, the news agency Reuters reported, indicating that Trump had been charged. The document was quickly removed from the site, Reuters reported, and the news agency then changed its report to say Georgia was "set to charge" the former president.

A representative for the Fulton County prosecutor's office called the report inaccurate, and the county clerk's office later issued a statement calling it a "fictitious document that has been circulated online."

Trump’s attorneys in Georgia — Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg — quickly weighed in with a statement saying the alleged early filing showed that the Fulton County District Attorney's Office has "no respect for the integrity of the grand jury process."

Earlier Monday, former state Sen. Jen Jordan and state Rep. Bee Nguyen — two Democrats who attended hearings where then-Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani urged officials not to certify the Georgia election results — were seen by NBC News inside the Fulton County courthouse.

Jordan wouldn’t confirm that she was there to testify but was overheard asking security for directions to the district attorney’s office inside the building. Nguyen confirmed to reporters that she had testified before the grand jury as she exited the courthouse in the early afternoon.

There were also signs the grand jury was moving quickly. Freelance journalist George Chidi, who'd been scheduled to testify before the grand jury on Tuesday, told NBC News, “I’ve just been called in early," and was headed to the courthouse Monday afternoon.

Shortly after 6:30 p.m., the grand jury began hearing testimony from the seventh of 10 witnesses, a source with knowledge of the proceedings said. But the source also cautioned that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis might not hear from all 10 witnesses before the grand jury votes on potential indictments.

Another witness who was called to testify is Geoff Duncan, a Republican who was the state’s lieutenant governor during the 2020 presidential election period and was critical of Trump’s efforts to reverse his loss in the state.

Trump said in a post on his social media platform Truth Social that Duncan should not comply.

“I am reading reports that failed former Lt. Governor of Georgia, Jeff Duncan, will be testifying before the Fulton County Grand Jury. He shouldn’t,” Trump wrote, calling him a "loser" and a “nasty disaster.” The post also mocked CNN, where Duncan works as a contributor.

The post appeared to have the potential to open Trump up to more legal trouble — specifically a Georgia law about influencing witnesses.

The district attorney's office declined comment on the post, and a representative for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Duncan also declined to comment on Trump's post "other than he misspelled ‘Geoff.’"

The social media post did not scare Duncan off. Chidi, who was expected to testify about how he discovered a meeting of the so-called fake electors on Dec. 14, 2020, tweeted that he was chatting with Duncan late Monday afternoon while they were waiting to testify. "He is as calm as a cucumber," Chidi wrote on X, the site formerly called Twitter.

The former president also continued his attacks on Willis, whom he called "phoney" and claimed was conducting a political witch hunt. "She only wants to 'get Trump,'" he wrote in one of his all-capitalized posts.

Willis has been conducting a wide-ranging investigation since early 2021 into whether there were any “coordinated attempts to unlawfully alter the outcome of the 2020 elections” by Trump and his allies.

She enlisted a special grand jury last year that was empowered to subpoena witnesses to assist in the probe. It heard testimony from 75 witnesses, court records show. The panel recommended indicting more than a dozen people, its foreperson said on NBC’s “Nightly News” in February.

Willis's investigation has looked at Trump’s efforts to pressure Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and others about challenging the certified election results, as well as at a scheme to have a slate of alternate presidential electors in place.

Those instances also figured prominently in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal indictment earlier this month alleging Trump used “unlawful means” to try to stay in office.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in the federal case and maintains he didn't do anything wrong in Georgia.

Security in and around the courthouse was increased last week and remained heightened Monday. Willis sent the chief judge and law enforcement officials letters earlier this year indicating her office could seek indictments in the first half of August.

“I respectfully request that judges not schedule trials and in person hearings during the weeks beginning Monday, August 7 and Monday, August 14,” Willis wrote in her letter to the chief judge in May.

Charlie Gile and Blayne Alexander reported from Atlanta and Dareh Gregorian from New York. Vaughn Hillyard contributed reporting from Atlanta. Jesse Rodriguez and Allan Smith contributed from New York and Jake Traylor from Bedminster, N.J.