Judge extends deadline for Georgia district attorney to respond to Trump | News
ATLANTA — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been granted a two-week extension to respond to a motion from former President Donald Trump’s attorney to drop her investigation into alleged election interference.
Willis was expected to respond to Trump’s motion by May 1, however, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney extended the deadline to May 15.
In his May 1 scheduling order, McBurney said that Cathleen Latham — one of the “alternate” electors advanced by the Georgia Republican Party after the 2020 general election — filed a motion April 28, to join Trump’s motion, which also seeks to quash the final report of the Special Purpose Grand Jury in the case and to quash the use of any evidence derived from the SPGJ for other prosecutors.
The SPGJ was selected in May 2022 to investigate possible criminal interference in the 2020 general election by former President Donald Trump and his allies. Trump lost his presidential reelection bid to Joe Biden.
The investigation is looking into Trump’s phone calls with Georgia officials, including a recorded call with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger; more than a dozen Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely declaring Trump as the winner; and the alleged copying of data and software from election equipment in Coffee County by a computer forensics team allegedly hired by Trump allies.
The SPGJ’s partial report released in February said the grand jury heard extensive testimony on alleged election fraud from poll workers, investigators, technical experts, state employees and officials, and by unanimous vote found no widespread election fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election — despite claims from Trump and his allies. The jury forewoman has since implied in public interviews that the SPGJ recommended several indictments following its investigation.
In addition to quashing the SPGJ report, both Trump’s and Latham’s motions also seek to disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office from additional investigation into or prosecution of alleged interference with the 2020 general election.
McBurney extended the deadline for Willis’ response so that she could consider Trump’s and Latham’s arguments in a combined response.
According to reports, Latham, the former chair of the Coffee County Republican Party during the 2020 general election, was reportedly seen on video surveillance escorting members of the technology firm SullivanStrickler, reportedly hired by a Trump-affiliated attorney, into the elections office on Jan. 7, 2021, the same day that a data breach occurred.
Latham is one of nearly a dozen of Georgia’s “fake electors” who allegedly signed off on certificates purporting to be from Trump electors that falsely claimed that Trump was the victor over Biden in Georgia.
The U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol last year presented documents and testimony that appeared to show Trump affiliates attempted to to overturn the 2020 election by organizing alternate “fake electors” in six other battleground states: Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to NBC News.
In a letter to Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat in late April, Willis urged law enforcement to plan for heightened security and preparedness as she plans to announce a charging decision during the county’s fourth term of court, which is scheduled between July 11 to Sept. 1.
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