Georgia Supreme Court Unanimously Dismisses Trump Long-Shot Bid To Halt Grand Jury and Disqualify Prosecutor
“Petitioner has not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances in which this Court’s original jurisdiction should be invoked, and therefore, the petition is dismissed.”
We have District Attorney Alvin Bragg in Manhattan (bookkeeping violations related to payments to Stormy Daniels) and Special Federal Counsel Jack Smith in Florida (mishandling of national security information), who each have obtained indictments against Donald Trump. The indictments have dramatically boosted Trump’s bid for the Republican nomination, with each indictment creating a substantial rally-around effect.
And then there is Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani T. Willis, who is widely assumed to be moving towards an indictment of Trump related to post-election communications with Georgia election officials over the disputed 2020 election results. Trump’s “find votes” comment reportedly is at issue.
In a legally desperate attempt to stave off a third indictment, last week Trump filed simultaneous Petitions with the Georgia Superior Court and Georgia Supreme Court seeking to halt Grand Jury proceedings and disqualify Willis. The Petitions were filed after Trump’s March 2023 motion in Superior Cour to quash evidence gathered by a prior Special Grand Jury and disqualify Willis have sat without any decision.
So Trump’s legal team took a long shot, by their own admission:
This is an original petition for writs of mandamus and prohibition against Respondents, the District Attorney and a Superior Court Judge of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. It seeks to both compel Respondents’ compliance with the lawful duties of their offices and bar their further contortion of legal processes whose object is Petitioner’s irremediable injury. The circumstances involve the Fulton County special purpose grand jury investigation into the 2020 election, in whose crosshairs the District Attorney has placed Petitioner. The injuries include reputational harm to the Petitioner as he seeks his Party’s nomination for the Presidency of the United States via a flagrant disregard for and violation of his fundamental constitutional rights. And while an original petition in this Court is disfavored, the extraordinary circumstances here justify it-particularly since Petitioner’s every attempt to seek redress in the normal course have been ignored, and the District Attorney has given every indication that the injury is imminent.
As Petitioner noted above, 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. If Petitioner’s case is not sufficiently extraordinary for this Court to exercise jurisdiction, no case could be. And the Court should say so.
The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the Petition today, finding in its Order that: (1) There were procedural defects, in that the same relief was sought in the simultaneously filed Petition in Superior Court, but that the Superior Court had not yet been permitted to consider the Petition. The Supreme Court declined to exercise “original jurisdiction” in the case, and would follow the normal process which would require the Superior Court be able to consider the Petition. (2) On the merits, the Supreme Court would deny the Petition because Trump had not met the extraordinary threshhold for the type of relief he was seeking.
On the merits, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled in pertinent part:
Moreover, even if the petition were procedurally appropriate, Petitioner has not shown that he would be entitled to the relief he seeks. As an initial matter, neither In re Floyd County Grand Jury Presentments for May Term 1996, 225 Ga. App. 705 (484 SE2d 769) (1997) nor Harris v. Edmonds, 119 Ga. App. 305 (166 SE2d 909) (1969)—which are cited by Petitioner in support of quashal as an appropriate remedy here—applies to these facts. Those cases address situations in which a regular grand jury included in its presentments to the superior court (and therefore published in a public way) a report charging or casting reflections of misconduct in office upon a public officer or impugning his character, but without including a presentment or true bill of indictment charging that official with a specific offense against the State. And, while those cases hold that the subjects of such extra-judicial reports are entitled to have those reports expunged from the official records, neither suggests that it is appropriate to quash a special purpose grand jury’s report based on allegations similar to those that Petitioner makes here. Furthermore, this Court has held that, even where a defendant had established that a special purpose grand jury acted illegally, neither dismissal of the subsequent indictment nor suppression of the evidence was the proper remedy for the grand jury’s overreach because no violation of defendant’s constitutional rights and no structural defect in the grand jury process occurred…..
And, with regard to Petitioner’s request to disqualify Willis from representing any party in any and all proceedings involving him, we note only that Petitioner has not presented in his original petition either the facts or the law necessary to mandate Willis’s disqualification by this Court at this time on this record. For these additional reasons, Petitioner has not shown that this case presents one of those extremely rare circumstances in which this Court’s original jurisdiction should be invoked, and therefore, the petition is dismissed.
So Trump is not going to get relief, and least not yet, in the Georgia courts in advance of an indictment.DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.