Several media outlets, including The Veracity Report, will be present at the hearing to compel Judge Robert McBurney to release the complete and unredacted final report
A large contingent of media representatives will be present at Tuesday’s Fulton County, Ga hearing in front of Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney. We will each be sending representatives to compel Judge McBurney not to seal or heavily redact the final report of the special grand jury which spent over 8 months investigating whether former President Donald Trump or any members of his inner circle violated Georgia election laws surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
We do this to combat the urging of Fulton District Attorney Fanni Willis who will be requesting that Judge McBurney seal the document in its entirety, or at least heavily redact it.
The Veracity Report, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The New York Times, ABC, and more than a dozen other news outlets filed a motion Monday saying there is no legal justification for sealing the results of the special grand jury’s investigation.
“The public interest in the report is extraordinary,” the motion said. “The court should file the report in the public docket and publish it … as the special purpose grand jurors have requested.”
In support of the motion, Superior Court Judge McBurney will hear arguments on Tuesday regarding the issue and will be hearing testimony from the District Attorney’s office, the news media, and, possibly, lawyers representing at least some of the targets identified by DA Willis during the course of the eight-month-long probe.
On Monday, Donald Trump’s Georgia-based legal team issued a statement saying that the former president was never subpoenaed to testify or asked to come in voluntarily. The attorneys — Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg, and Jennifer Little — also said they will not attend or participate in Tuesday’s hearing before McBurney.
In their statement, Trump’s attorneys had this to say:
“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. 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.”
The special-purpose grand jury was told to investigate whether there was a premeditated effort to disrupt the Georgia election. Although a special purpose grand jury does not have the power to issue indictments, the jurors were instructed to recommend criminal charges if they thought they were warranted.
When the group was dissolved on January 9th, the special grand jury asked that its final report, which has so far been under wraps, be made public, McBurney noted in a recent order.
The media coalition is arguing the report is a court record subject to the presumption of openness under the U.S. Constitution, the Georgia Constitution, and the Superior Court system’s uniform rules. In part, our motion says:
“There are no countervailing interests sufficient to overcome the presumption,” the filing said. It also notes that the investigation “has been one of enormous public interest not just to Georgians, but also to citizens throughout the U.S. The scale and scope of news organizations filing this brief reflect the profound public interest in this issue.”
Other members of the media coalition are CBS, CNN, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, WSB-TV, WXIA-TV, The Wall Street Journal, Gray Television, Yahoo! News, and Gannett Co. and its newspapers: USA Today, the Athens Banner-Herald, The Augusta Chronicle, and the Savannah Morning News.
There is a legal court precedent in Georgia that says a special grand jury’s report, also called a presentment, must not contain information that goes beyond the panel’s charter — that means what it was instructed to do in the first place. The precedent also explains that such a report should not contain language that impugns the character of an individual, unless and until that individual is indicted for a criminal act.
This legal precedent has been affirmed and upheld by several state Court of Appeals decisions since it was initially proffered in 1961.
In a 1988 opinion, though, the Georgia Supreme Court said that a move to limit public access to a court document:
“…shall not be granted except upon a finding that the harm otherwise resulting to the privacy of a person in interest clearly outweighs the public interest.”
That decision was cited in the motion filed by the news media coalition. So, too, was a landmark open court ruling in 1980 by the U.S. Supreme Court that said:
“People in an open society do not demand infallibility from their institutions, but it is difficult for them to accept what they are prohibited from observing.”
“There is no basis for sealing here,” said the motion, written by Atlanta lawyers Tom Clyde and Lesli Gaither. “This investigation has been a matter of profound public interest that goes to the heart of the nation’s forms of government. … There is quite simply no ‘clear and convincing proof’ that sealing, either in whole or in part, is warranted.”
Veracity Editor’s Note:
This unbiased, non-satirical, fully attributed article was thoroughly researched by our team of fact-checkers and found to be accurate. The sources relied upon for the factual basis of this article were: CBS, CNN, The New York Times, The New York Post, Fox News, The Associated Press, Reuters, and veracityreport.org.
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This article was compiled and written by Chief Political Correspondent Kurt Dillon – Because the Truth Matters!
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