ATLANTA - The nearly yearlong special grand jury investigation of former President Donald Trump and his allies is now over. The grand jury, which by law cannot indict anyone, voted to have their findings made public.
But, now lawyers involved in the case are heading to court to argue when and whether part or all of the report can be read by the public.
Last year courthouse security was often tight as dozens of witnesses testified before the special purpose grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump and his allies. Extra tight for former Trump National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
Not so much when Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his top election aide Gabe Sterling casually walked down the street to testify.
Either way, all were there to testify under oath about their role in the events surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
After 8 months of weekly, painstaking criminal investigation, the grand jury has finished its work and grand jurors "voted to recommend that its report be published"
But will it happen? In a January order, then Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Robert McBurney released the grand jurors, but then invited key players to come to court and discuss whether the grand jurors findings can legally be made public.
What are we to expect from this hearing?
"We can expect it to be interesting, says Georgia State University Law professor Clark Cunningham.
Cunningham has followed the grand jury case closely. He says it’s a complex legal question, and he's not sure who will show up to argue it. He also wonders, what does Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis want?
"You can certainly imagine reasons why the district attorney might not want some or all of it published, or least published right away. It alerts witnesses. I may interfere the way she prosecutes and so on," said Cunningham.
Another question: Can the special grand jury - which has no power to indict anyone - recommend someone should be indicted by another grand jury? In January 2022, then Chief Judge Christopher Brasher wrote an order establishing the grand jury stating the grand jury "may make recommendations concerning criminal prosecution as it shall see fit."
But former DeKalb County district Attorney J. Tom Morgan disagrees.
"It is absolutely prohibited from this grand jury accusing anyone of a crime," said Morgan.
Morgan says Georgia case says special grand juries aren't allowed by law to recommend indictment.
"So Judge McBurney who is the Superior court Judge in this case. I would not be surprised if there is a formal report and a large portion of that report will be redacted because according to Georgia law, they cannot accuse anyone of a crime," Morgan argues.
"Now, what's really mysterious is are we going to hear from potential targets," says Cunningham.
Cunningham says people who are named in the report - perhaps Donald Trump or his campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani and others - may want to come to court, and based on Georgia case law, argue their names should be kept from the public.
"If those people show up with lawyers it's going to be kind of an epic day in Fulton County," said Cunningham.
Based on the witness list, it appears the Grand Jury is focused on the phone call from then President Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the appointment of what some call "fake electors," efforts to pressure a Fulton County poll worker to falsely claim she committed election fraud, and an election data breach in Coffee County in Southeast Georgia
"And of course we are all very eager to read the report, which in all likelihood is going to become a historic document," said Cunningham.