The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously voted to dismiss the petition fielded by former President Donald Trump, seeking to halt an inquiry into potential election interference during the 2020 race. In a concise five-page opinion released Monday, the court rejected Trump’s claim that his constitutional rights had been violated.
The decision was notably swift, just three days after Trump’s legal team submitted the petition to prevent Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from pursuing charges against him. Since 2021, Willis has been investigating Trump about allegations of attempting to overturn Georgia’s presidential election results, wherein Democratic Joe Biden narrowly defeated the Republican incumbent.
In a unanimous decision, the Georgia Supreme Court has rejected a petition filed by former President Donald Trump, which aimed to halt an investigation into potential election interference during the 2020 race.#GeorgiaSupremeCourt #Georgia #Trump2024 #TrumpIndictment #Trump2020 pic.twitter.com/Jp6kjvocA4
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) July 18, 2023
Georgia Supreme Court Rejects Trump’s Petition in Election Investigation
In addition to seeking to curtail Willis’s ability to prosecute, Trump’s petition filed on Friday aimed to quash a yet-to-be-released special grand jury report from the ongoing investigation. However, Monday’s decision denied this request as well. The court, consisting of a nine-member panel, stated that the petitioner needed to demonstrate more entitlement to the relief sought.
It emphasized that Trump had not provided the necessary facts or legal basis to warrant Willis’s disqualification and found no constitutional rights violation or structural defect in the grand jury process that would justify suppressing the report. The expeditious proceedings align with Trump’s legal team’s efforts to ward off anticipated legal action in the state.
Trump’s Legal Team Acknowledges Slim Chances in Seeking Georgia High Court Intervention
In a letter addressed to the Fulton County sheriff, Willis had previously indicated that any charges related to the investigation would be announced between July 11 and September 1 of this year. This advance notice was provided to allow the sheriff ample time to prepare for the security requirements of a high-profile trial. Trump’s legal team viewed this disclosure as a factor that heightened the urgency of their petition. However, they also recognized that seeking the intervention of the Georgia high court was a long shot.
The Trump team’s petition acknowledged the historical rarity of the court exercising jurisdiction over petitions for extraordinary relief, stating, “In the 40 years that this court has had original jurisdiction over petitions for extraordinary relief, not once in that time has it found any case to have been sufficiently extraordinary to warrant an exercise of that jurisdiction.” The petition further asserted, “If the Petitioner’s case is not sufficiently extraordinary for this Court to exercise jurisdiction, no case should be.”
Trump Faces Scrutiny Over Controversial Phone Call to Georgia Secretary of State
Former President Donald Trump drew increased attention in Georgia following a phone call to Brad Raffensperger, the state’s Republican Secretary of State, in which he urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to secure his presidential victory. Despite Trump’s efforts, he ultimately lost the closely contested swing state by approximately 11,779 votes, allowing Joe Biden to claim all 16 of Georgia’s Electoral College votes. The Electoral College tally plays a pivotal role in determining the overall outcome of the presidential election.
The phone call, which transpired on January 2, 2021, was recorded and released to the public. The recording captured Trump’s persistent attempts to persuade Raffensperger to declare alternative election results, insisting that the vote count was incorrect. At one juncture, Trump suggested that Raffensperger should “recalculate” the numbers, while at another moment, he dismissed the accuracy of the reported results, asserting that they were off by “hundreds of thousands of votes.”
Controversial Call: Trump Faces Criticism and Grand Jury Probe Over Georgia Election Influence
Certain segments of the conversation between Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger have been criticized as threatening, mainly when Trump referred to the ballots as “corrupt” and warned Raffensperger about potential criminal consequences. In the recording, Trump stated, “That’s a criminal offense. And you can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and Ryan, your lawyer.”
In May 2022, a grand jury was convened to investigate whether Trump sought to exert undue influence over the vote count in Georgia, marking one of several investigations that the former president, currently a presidential candidate, has faced in recent years. The grand jury concluded its proceedings in January, and its report remains sealed mainly from public view. The investigation involved the testimonies of some of the state’s highest-ranking officials and included the participation of 75 witnesses.
The former president has maintained his innocence and denied any wrongdoing in the legal cases against him. In New York, he faces 34 state-level counts related to the alleged falsification of business records. Additionally, in June, he was charged with 37 criminal counts at the federal level for his alleged mishandling and concealment of classified documents. In both cases, Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges.