Georgia judge directs prosecutors to respond to Trump’s challenge

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia judge on Monday ordered the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to respond to a request by former President Donald Trump to dismiss a report by a special grand jury investigating attempts to interfere in the state’s 2020 presidential election.

The motion by Trump’s legal team also seeks to dismiss all testimony from the investigation and bar Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from continuing to investigate or prosecute Trump.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney asked Willis to respond by May 1 and let him know if an in-person hearing was needed to resolve any issues. A spokeswoman for Willis said her office would respond based on the court records.

The filing is an attempt by Trump to avoid one of the numerous legal challenges he faces, including a New York state investigation into hush money payments to women who allegedly had sexual encounters with the former president, and two US criminal investigations -Ministry of Justice. One examines his efforts to redeem his defeat in the 2020 election. The other is investigating Trump’s possession of hundreds of classified documents at his Florida estate.

Willis began her investigation shortly after the release of a January 2021 recording of a phone call between Trump and Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. needed to make up for Trump’s narrow state election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The special grand jury heard about 75 witnesses and reviewed additional evidence before issuing a report that included recommendations for Willis on criminal charges. McBurney released the report’s introduction and conclusion, as well as a section where the jury raised concerns that some witnesses may have lied under oath, but the rest of the report has remained classified so far.

Willis said at a hearing in January that decisions on charges were “imminent.”

The lawsuit from Trump’s legal team, filed last Monday, also alleged that McBurney misconstrued Georgia law and made a mistake by not barring Willis from the entire investigation when he ruled in July that Willis shouldn’t be allowed to press charges against Burt Jones, the current lieutenant governor of Georgia.

Trump’s attorneys demanded that another judge hear the challenge alongside McBurney. He did not acknowledge this advance in Monday’s brief order.

The lawyers also accused Willis of repeatedly granting press interviews. Referring to a list of 39 media appearances, they said their comments cast “a shadow of bias on their office and the entire investigation.”

Trump’s attorneys also argued that interviews given by the foreman and other grand jurors should disqualify the case.