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Donald Trump's attempts to derail 2020 Georgia election investigation should be blocked, Fulton DA says

In a court filing Monday, Willis argues that the former president and one of his allies are improperly "seeking to restrain a criminal investigation."

ATLANTA — The Fulton County District Attorney's Office asked a judge on Monday to block efforts by former President Donald Trump and one of his allies to derail its 2020 election investigation.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued that attempts by Trump and former Coffee County GOP chairwoman Cathy Latham to remove the DA's office from any potential cases, bury a special purpose grand jury report, and prevent prosecutors from using any evidence collected by the jury are "flawed" and "lack merit."

Willis alleges that Trump and Latham are improperly "seeking to restrain a criminal investigation before charges are even filed or sought."

"(Trump and Latham) cannot succeed because their requested remedies have no basis in the law and in fact fly in the face of the orderly administration of the laws of the State of Georgia," a portion of the filing reads. "If an investigation results in actual criminal charges against... (Trump and Latham), the justice system ensures: they will have no shortage of available remedies to pursue."

In his filings, Trump also argued that laws governing special purpose grand juries are vague and unconstitutional. The former president also requested the motion be heard by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville or another county superior court judge, excluding McBurney.  

In her response, Willis argued that Trump and Latham failed to provide the necessary evidence to back up their claims and requests. Willis requested that their joint motion be rejected without a hearing.

"Most of (Trump and Latham's) arguments are barred by lack of standing, untimeliness, and other procedural flaws, and any remaining arguments are without merit," the DA's office said in the filing.

Media organizations, including 11Alive, also filed a motion Monday opposing Trump and Latham's requests to bury the special grand jury's report.

Trump attorneys Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg told 11Alive in a statement Tuesday that they will ask the court to give them time to file a response to Willis' claims.

"The State’s reply was primarily procedural in nature and failed to address several of the critical substantive issues which were discussed at length in our brief and exhibits," the attorneys said.

A Fulton County special purpose grand jury initially investigated the former president and others. The panel completed its work in January 2023, and jurors heard from 75 witnesses during its roughly eight month long probe.

In Georgia, special purpose grand juries can't issue indictments. However, their report — which largely remains secret — recommended indictments for more than a dozen people, jury foreperson Emily Kohrs told news outlets earlier this year.

Trump filed his motion seeking to end the investigation in March. Latham joined him in late April as Willis' probe continued and other fake Trump electors made immunity deals.

Latham served as one of 16 Republican electors who cast "alternate" Electoral College ballots claiming Trump won the 2020 election.

In mid-April, eight Republican electors represented by attorney Kimberly Bourroughs Debrow took immunity deals from prosecutors. Two of Debrow's former clients did not receive offers and found new attorneys. Court documents do not identify which electors received written immunity offers.

Latham was previously represented by Debrow in the election investigation but is no longer. Her new attorney, Kieran Shanahan, began to represent her in late April. Previous attempts to contact Shanahan have not been returned.

In addition to serving as a Trump elector, Latham was also a key player in the alleged breaching and copying of election data in Coffee County on Jan. 7, 2021. 

Surveillance footage shows Latham escorting operatives working with former Trump attorney Sidney Powell through the front door of the county's election office. The operatives then spent hours inside the office copying election data.

Both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Fulton County District Attorney are investigating the breach.

To seek indictments, Willis has to present the election investigation evidence to a regular grand jury. She previously told 11Alive that on July 17 it could come before a grand jury. Potential indictments against Trump and his allies would come before Sept. 1.

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