‘Decisions imminent’ in Trump election interference case, Georgia prosecutor says

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An Atlanta district attorney has said “decisions are imminent” on whether to charge Donald Trump with criminal offenses over his attempts to overturn the results of the state’s 2020 election.

But Fulton district attorney Fani Willis strongly hinted that the former president or some of his associates are likely to be prosecuted when she argued against making a grand jury’s investigation public because it could harm a fair trial for the accused .

Related: Arizona’s new attorney general will use electoral fraud to boost voting rights

Willis objected to the release of the special grand jury’s report at a court hearing on Tuesday to hear arguments over whether to release the results of the investigation into a range of alleged crimes, including incitement to commit voter fraud , deliberate interference in the performance of electoral duties, conspiracy and extortion. Convictions may carry significant prison sentences.

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“We have to be careful about protecting the rights of future suspects,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone is treated fairly, we say [that] for fair treatment of prospective defendants, it is not appropriate at this time to release this report.”

Willis added, “Decisions are at hand.”

If Willis decides to indict a former US president for the first time in history, she will have to take her case to another grand jury with the authority to issue indictments.

At least 18 other people have been told they may also be prosecuted, including Trump’s close ally and lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

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Before the special purpose grand jury was dissolved two weeks ago after months of hearings, its members recommended that its findings be released.

Legal scholars have said they believe Trump is at “significant risk of prosecution” in Georgia for his efforts to force-arm officials to settle the election in his favor, when it appeared that the state could control the outcome of the presidential election. would decide. Trump’s lawyers. did not participate in the hearing because, they said, Willis had not attempted to interview the former president for the purpose of the investigation.

“Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we did, and concluded that there were no violations of law by President Trump,” the lawyers said in a statement.

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Willis launched her investigation into “a Trump campaign-coordinated multi-state plan to influence outcomes” just weeks after the former president left office. The investigation initially focused on a tape recording of Trump pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to conjure up nearly 12,000 votes out of thin air to overturn Joe Biden’s victory.

Willis expanded the investigation as more evidence emerged that Trump and his allies attempted to manipulate the results, including appointing a mock slate of 16 voters to replace the state’s legitimate members of the electoral college. Among the bogus voters were Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer and Republican members of the state legislature, who have been warned they are at risk of prosecution.

Judge Robert McBurney was not expected to immediately decide whether the report should be released.

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