Trump Asks Georgia Supreme Court to Halt 2020 Election Probe

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(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump asked the Georgia Supreme Court to halt a state investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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The petition filed by Trump’s lawyers on Thursday marks his latest effort to stop or at least delay the probe ahead of an announcement by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, expected this summer, on whether she will press charges.

The former president’s lawyers want the state’s highest court to toss out a special investigative grand jury’s report with indictment recommendations and to bar the district attorney’s office from using evidence it gathered during that process. They also argue that Willis should be blocked from playing any role in the case.

Read More: Trump Seeks End to Atlanta Election Probe, Removal of DA

While the latest petition is pending, Trump asked the justices to pause “all proceedings” related to the investigation.

‘Looming Indictment’

Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination for 2024, filed a similar request in March with the trial judge who presided over the special grand jury, Judge Robert McBurney. The Atlanta-based jurist has yet to rule. Trump’s lawyers wrote that they were taking the unusual step of asking the state Supreme Court to step in because their previous challenge had been “ignored” and a decision by Willis appeared “imminent.”

“Stranded between the supervising judge’s protracted passivity and the district attorney’s looming indictment, petitioner has no meaningful option other than to seek this court’s intervention,” they wrote.

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A spokesperson for Willis’s office declined to comment on the latest filing. Through his chambers, McBurney, who is also named in Trump’s petition, declined to comment.

The petition was reported earlier on Friday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

‘Investigative Weapon’

Trump claims that Georgia’s special grand jury process is generally unconstitutional and that McBurney allowed Willis to turn the 2020 election probe into a “jerry-rigged investigative weapon.”

He is arguing that Willis shouldn’t be involved because her political activities — including supporting an opponent of one of the investigation’s subjects, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones — created a conflict of interest. Willis already had been disqualified from matters related to Jones, but Trump’s team says that isn’t enough to address the conflict.

Read More: Trump Prosecutor Defends Probe of 2020 Election in Georgia

In addition to the state Supreme Court petition, Trump’s team on Thursday filed a similar petition in Fulton County Superior Court. But his lawyers argued the state justices should act now because going through the lower courts, even on an expedited basis, won’t “outpace” the DA.

Willis has signaled she might announce an indictment by the end of August. Earlier this week McBurney seated a new grand jury expected to consider the Trump investigation.

Trump already is facing two sets of criminal charges. One is a state case in New York accusing him of falsifying business records related to hush money payments to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election. The other is a federal case in Florida charging him with mishandling state secrets and obstructing justice. He has pleaded not guilty in both cases. A separate federal investigation into the 2020 election remains active as well.

Trump has called all the legal actions and probes he faces part of a Democratic effort to hobble his candidacy.

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