ATLANTA — A Fulton County judge wants more time before he decides if the special purpose grand jury's final report on potential criminal interference by former President Donald Trump and his allies in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election will be made public.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who’s overseen the jury’s work since its formation, gave his thoughts Tuesday after a 90-minute hearing in which the Fulton County DA’s Office and lawyers representing various media outlets debated over how much of the document would be public.
"There'll be no rash decisions," McBurney said at the conclusion of Tuesday's hearing.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her office said that releasing the report before her office decides whether or not it will seek criminal charges is "dangerous."
Assistant District Attorney Donald Wakeford told McBurney that the office is not arguing for the report to remain secret forever.
"We are asking that the report not be released because you haven't seen that report," Willis said. "Decisions are imminent."
Tom Clyde, attorney for the media outlets, argued that Georgia law is clear: The report should be published without delay and in its entirety.
"We believe case law supports its public release right now," he said in court. "We believe constitutional law, including our own state constitution requires its release."
The 23-person jury completed its eight-month investigation earlier this month.
The report hasn’t been published yet, and we don't know exactly what will be included. In previous interviews with 11Alive, former district attorneys with special purpose grand jury experience disagreed over whether the report could be made public if the jury recommends criminal charges against Trump and his allies.
The scope of the jury's work was broad. Willis said in court Tuesday that the panel heard from 75 witnesses during the investigation.
The order creating the grand jury states that it had the authority to investigate "any and all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia" tied to the 2020 presidential election.
Court orders also said the panel "may make recommendations concerning criminal prosecution as it shall see fit."
Events like Trump's Jan. 2, 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where Trump asked the state's top election official to "find" enough votes to change the outcome are expected to be a key focus.
The Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury lacks the power to indict. To seek criminal charges, Willis would have to take the case to a separate, regular grand jury.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.