A transcript of a phone call between former U.S. President Donald Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State, appears on a video screen during the fourth hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC.
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Georgia this week is set to release portions of a special grand jury’s final report on its investigation into possible criminal interference in the state’s 2020 general election, including by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
Three sections of the report — the introduction and conclusion, as well as a section discussing concerns about whether any witnesses lied under oath — “are ripe for publication,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Monday morning.
Those portions will be made public Thursday, giving the parties involved in the matter time to discuss possible redactions, McBurney wrote in his order.
The Fulton County court in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023.
Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images
“The compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release,” McBurney said, even if that is not “convenient for the pacing” of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ ongoing investigation.
But disclosure of the rest of the report “at this time is not proper,” McBurney wrote, citing due process concerns.
The judge did, however, confirm that the full report will include “a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what, in relation to the conduct (and aftermath) of the 2020 general election in Georgia.”
It’s unclear when that portion of the report will be made public. The judge directed the DA’s office to provide periodic updates about the status of its probe so he can reassess if other parts of the final report “can be properly disclosed.”
Willis, in a hearing last month, had asked the judge to temporarily keep the report sealed, citing the rights and fair treatment of “future defendants.” Decisions on that matter “are imminent,” she said at the time.
In a statement Monday afternoon, Willis told NBC News, “I believe Judge McBurney’s order is legally sound and consistent with my request. I have no plans to appeal today’s order.”
The special grand jury was seated last May to conduct an investigation into possible efforts to disrupt the 2020 elections in Georgia, and to recommend whether anyone should be criminally prosecuted.
After sifting through evidence and hearing testimony from dozens of witnesses — including multiple Trump allies, such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. — the grand jury in December submitted its final report, recommending that it be published.
Georgia was one of several key swing states that narrowly voted for President Joe Biden, then the Democratic nominee, over Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Trump, his allies and his legal team sought to overturn his loss to Biden in the general election by challenging the results in Georgia and other key states.
A flurry of lawsuits filed in late 2020 by Trump’s campaign were almost entirely rejected in the courts. In early January 2021, Trump called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, and urged him to “find” enough votes in his favor to reverse his loss in the Peach State. Raffensperger refused.