Media groups urge judge to make Georgia special grand jury report public

ATLANTA — Atlanta news station WSB-TV, its owner, Cox Media Group, and more than a dozen other media outlets are urging a judge to make public the report from an investigation into potential interference by former President Donald Trump with Georgia’s elections.

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The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office assigned a special purpose grand jury to look into whether Trump and his allies’ criminally interfered in the 2020 election. The special grand jury presented a final report earlier this month after eight months of intense investigation.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney will decide in a hearing on Tuesday how much, if anything, the public will get to see from that investigation.

WSB-TV and a media coalition filed a brief on Monday urging McBurney to make the entire report available to the public.

The brief notes the investigation “has been one of enormous public interest not just to Georgians, but also to citizens throughout the U.S.” and the range of media organizations filing the brief “reflect the profound public interest in this issue.”

The brief argues that Georgia law strongly favors public access to court documents, including indictments and reports from grand juries. It also claims that the state or parties involved have not made a compelling case for keeping the report sealed or expunged.

“The Georgia Supreme Court has explicitly stated that it would ‘decline to extend the requirement of secrecy applicable to grand jury proceedings beyond that which is currently imposed by statute.’ Olsen, 302 Ga. at 291. There is no basis to do so here. The Media 19 Intervenors respectfully request that the Report be publicly filed and published as the special purpose grand jurors have requested.”

For eight months, the grand jurors investigated everything from the now-infamous phone call from Trump to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, to the false allegations of voter fraud made by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a state Senate subcommittee, to the meeting of false electors inside the Georgia state capitol.

The special grand jury doesn’t have the power to indict, only to investigate. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will now take the results and decide if she will pursue criminal charges and for whom.

WSB-TV received the following statement from attorneys representing Trump.

“On behalf of President Trump, we will not be present nor participating in Tuesday’s hearing regarding the possible release of the special purpose grand jury’s report. To date, we have never been a part of this process. The grand jury compelled the testimony of dozens of other, often high-ranking, officials during the investigation, but never found it important to speak with the President. He was never subpoenaed nor asked to come in voluntarily by this grand jury or anyone in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. Therefore, we can assume that the grand jury did their job and looked at the facts and the law, as we have, and concluded there were no violations of the law by President Trump.”

WSB-TV will report from the Fulton County courthouse as the hearing proceeds.

Editor’s note: The following media organizations are included in the coalition with WSB-TV and Cox Media Group: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ABC News, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, CNN, Dow Jones & Company and its newspaper The Wall Street Journal, Gannett Co., Inc. and its newspapers USA Today, the Athens Banner-Herald, The Augusta Chronicle, and the Savannah Morning News, Gray Media Group, Inc. and its television station WANF, The New York Times Company, Tegna Inc. and its television station WXIA-TV, and Yahoo Inc. and its news publication Yahoo News.

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