Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis poses for a portrait, Wednesday, April 19, 2023, in Atlanta.
Brynn Anderson | AP
Donald Trump on Monday lost his latest effort to quash a Georgia special grand jury report and disqualify the Atlanta district attorney who is considering whether to criminally charge him with interfering in the state’s 2020 election.
The ruling by a Superior Court judge marked the second time this month that Trump has lost an effort to have Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis disqualified.
Willis said over the weekend that her investigation is proceeding as planned.
“I’ve made a commitment to the American people but most importantly, the citizens of Fulton County that we were going to be making some big decisions regarding the election investigation, and that I would do that before September the first of 2023 and I’m gonna hold true that commitment,” she told an Atlanta CNN affiliate Saturday.
Speaking at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania that same day, Trump said he expected Willis to indict him.
Willis is investigating attempts by Trump and his allies to get Georgia officials to reverse his election loss to President Joe Biden in the state in 2020. Trump, who is white, has repeatedly lashed out at Willis, who is Black, by calling her a “racist.”
Fulton County Judge Robert McBurney wrote in his ruling Monday that neither Trump nor Cathleen Latham, who was an “alternate” elector for Trump in 2020, had legal standing to challenge the grand jury report and the role of Willis.
McBurney said Trump’s alleged “injuries” that he would suffer if his motion was not granted “are either insufficient or else speculative and unrealized.”
“They are insufficient because, while being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigation,” McBurney wrote.
“Trump knew this, and now Latham does too,” wrote the judge.
Moreover, the lack of any indictment in the case so far means there is no “genuine controversy” yet “to confer standing” to either Trump or Latham.
That soon could change.
“The work is accomplished. We’ve been working for two-and-a-half years,” Willis said at a charity event. “We’re ready to go.”
Her spokesman on Monday declined to comment on McBurney’s ruling in her favor.
Two weeks ago, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously rejected a similar motion by Trump to quash the report of the special grand jury and bar Willis from handling the case.
Trump appears to have one last chance at quashing the report and blocking Willis, albeit a long shot.
On Friday, a supervising judge in Fulton County Superior Court scheduled a hearing Aug. 10 on Trump’s separate motion for the same actions.
McBurney wrote in a footnote on the last page of his ruling Monday that his actions should make the August hearing unnecessary. But he noted that Trump is likely to appeal McBurney’s decision.