A final report produced by an Atlanta-area special grand jury investigating efforts by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn Trump’s 2020 election loss in Georgia will remain mostly sealed as a local prosecutor considers charges in the case, a judge ruled.
But Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said in an order released Monday that he will make public three sections of the grand jury report, including the panel’s introduction and conclusion to its findings as well as a section in which the grand jury “discusses its concern that some witnesses may have lied under oath during their testimony.”
McBurney scheduled the release for Thursday.
The decision comes after a Jan. 24 court hearing at which Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis pressed McBurney to keep the report sealed to protect the ongoing criminal investigation and the rights of potential “defendants” in the case — language that suggested that charges may be filed based on the grand jury’s findings.
In that hearing, Willis told McBurney that charging decisions in the case were “imminent.”
On Monday, McBurney disclosed in his ruling that the grand jury had “provided the district attorney with exactly what she requested: a roster of who should (or should not) be indicted, and for what, in relation to the conduct (and aftermath) of the 2020 general election in Georgia.”
The judge agreed with Willis that releasing the full report at this time would violate due process of “potential future defendants” because what was presented to the grand jury was a “one-sided exploration” of what happened.
“The consequence of these due process deficiencies is not that the special purpose grand jury’s final report is forever suppressed or that its recommendations for or against indictment are in any way flawed or suspect,” McBurney wrote. “Rather, the consequence is that those recommendations are for the district attorney’s eyes only — for now. Fundamental fairness requires this.”
But McBurney ruled that parts of the report should be made public, including the panel’s concerns that witnesses may have lied under oath — witnesses that he said the grand jury did not identify. “While publication may not be convenient for the pacing of the district attorney’s investigation, the compelling public interest in these proceedings and the unquestionable value and importance of transparency require their release,” McBurney wrote.
A spokesman for Willis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McBurney’s decision marks a potentially consequential new chapter in a criminal inquiry that could present fresh legal peril for Trump and his allies.
The report’s release comes against the backdrop of other investigations into alleged efforts by Trump and his supporters to subvert the 2020 election results in key battleground states.
In December, the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol issued its final 800-plus-page report, which cited evidence from thousands of documents and more than 1,000 witness interviews. The committee was not conducting a criminal investigation, and its conclusions have no legal bearing. Still, it argued that Trump, with the help of allies, orchestrated a plan to stay in office despite his election loss.