Trump was indicted in New York.  How’s the investigation going in Georgia?  – HONEYCOMB

All eyes were on a lower Manhattan courthouse this week where former President Donald Trump was indicted on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to 34 counts.

But a separate investigation into Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election is still underway at another courthouse here in Fulton County.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has mooted asking a grand jury to indict Trump and others for their actions after the 2020 election, including pressuring election officials to get him votes.

New York prosecutors are investigating a 2016 campaign hush money payment to cover up an affair between Trump and an adult film actress.

“I think the Fani Willis investigation is a little more direct about the threat election interference poses to our democracy,” said reporter Anna Bower, who covered the Fulton County investigation for Lawfare.

The following excerpts have been compressed. Listen in to hear the full conversation.

What else distinguishes these two cases?

It’s really unclear if these payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, if released ahead of the 2016 election, would affect the election? I’m not sure.

There is simply a much clearer story to tell about the interference in Georgia than what happened in New York.

Also, another major difference is that the Georgia case is merely a much broader investigation into a number of different crimes, rather than a single crime of forging business records.

What we are all waiting for now is to know if Willis has brought a case before a grand jury and asked them to bring criminal charges against Trump or anyone else. You are a lawyer. Can you briefly explain how grand juries actually work in Fulton County?

Therefore, in Fulton County, these two-month court dates usually apply. It is a group of ordinary Fulton County citizens appointed to serve as a grand jury. Normally dozens of cases for which evidence is heard are heard every day and prosecutors will ask them to bring charges in those cases. And so, at the end of the day, they go into a counseling room. They sign the indictment if the majority of them vote in favor of the indictment.

I have followed the Fulton County grand jury indictments filed during this term. I can’t imagine how Fani Willis would have had the time to present a rambling case. So I think what we’re seeing is maybe a little later in the grand jury term or early in the next session, which starts in May.

Anna, you know, three months ago the special grand jury completed its work. Why haven’t we heard more in the past few months?

Well, first of all Sam, I would like to note that Fani Willis said that indictments are imminent, not indictments. So that could be a decision that was actually made later this week and we just don’t know about it yet.

Second, the January 6 Committee had a wealth of evidence related to this case, but that evidence was not released until after the resolution of the Special Grand Jury in December.

And third, people need to realize that this is a prosecutor’s office. You have a massive RICO case that is currently being followed up in the Young Thug case. They have a huge backlog of COVID cases. So I think it makes sense that they might want to spend a little more time making sure they’re prepared for all the spaghetti Trump’s legal team is about to throw at the wall.

Anna, as you watched Trump’s indictment in New York this week, I wonder if you took away anything that can help us understand what’s coming in Georgia?

First, how you tell the story of your case in the indictment is extremely important. It’s your first opportunity to publicly justify the prosecution of a former President.

Fani Willis could learn a lot from the indictment from Alvin Bragg’s office, because many things remained unclear in this indictment.

Second, the security situation will be a circus. I watched the motorcade of Trump’s, you know, black SUVs driving up to the Manhattan courthouse. And the only thing I could think of is how bad Atlanta traffic is going to be when it happens in Georgia.

If the Georgia case is a multi-defendant RICO case involving John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, it will be an even more intense experience for Atlantans and Georgians than it was in New York.