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Judge denies Trump's motion to stop Georgia election indictment

The decision comes as barricades have now gone up outside of the courthouse — with real concerns for the safety of staff inside it.
Judge denies Trump's motion to stop Georgia election indictment
Posted at 7:47 PM, Aug 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-01 19:48:39-04

A judge in Georgia is clearing the way for Fulton County’s district attorney Fani Willis to present evidence to a grand jury relating to the 2020 election and the former president. 

"I would say the opinion was a little bit salty," said Clark D. Cunningham, a professor of law at Georgia State University. 

In his 9 page order, Judge Robert McBurney found Former President Donald Trump’s motion to stop the grand jury from proceeding, to quash its report and disqualify the district attorney had no merit. 

McBurney said Trump’s claims of injury are speculative and "no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for courts to interfere with or halt an investigation."

"There's there's really no legal authority for someone before they've been indicted to go to court and prevent a grand jury from indicting them," said Cunningham. 

McBurney acknowledges interfering at all in an investigation would be a huge move — amounting to the judicial branch controlling what the executive branch does. The order at times poked fun at the back and forth, even comparing the former president to the fairytale Rumplestiltskin. 

SEE MORE: Timeline: A rundown of the criminal indictments Trump faces

Cunningham said Trump’s claims in this motion are unfounded — particularly those against the district attorney herself. 

The law prohibits conflict of interest and Willis has clearly never represented or consulted Trump. And despite being in an elected role and fundraising for her next election, Judge McBurney called removing her a "bold request," agreeing that everything she has done is within legal bounds. 

"There's no indication that she's raising money, say, 'You know, you know, if you want me to put Donald Trump in jail, give me money.' You know, that would be a problem, but that's not happening," said Cunningham. 

The judge said the DA is not a neutral party and doesn’t need to pretend to be one. 

All of this comes as barricades have now gone up outside of the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta — with real concerns for the safety of staff inside it. Willis has asked judges not to schedule hearings for the next two weeks. Similar concerns have shown up in other states, too. 

"There are a lot of people within a one hour drive of downtown Atlanta, that of who I think are more likely to act out violently and support a former president, than within a one hour drive of Manhattan," said Cunningham. 

"Some people may not be happy with the decisions that I am making and sometimes when people are unhappy they act in a way that could create harm. The work is accomplished. We've been working for 2 1/2 years," said Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County. 

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