For something else entirely, I started writing what I thought was going to be a short summary of where the three major investigations into Trump stand. But those summaries ended up getting long, so I’m going to publish them serially, starting with Fani Willis’ Georgia investigation.
This post relies on the work of others following the investigation far more closely, especially Lawfare’s Anna Bower and GPB’s Stephen Fowler. But the following two posts, on the stolen documents investigation and Jack Smith’s January 6 investigation, will build off this.
In a bid to keep the Special Grand Jury’s recommendations secret in January, Fani Willis said the charging decisions were “imminent.” Since then, however, the regular Fulton County grand juries that would have to charge Trump and others have been churning out indictments for more ordinary crimes. According to Andrew Fleischman, there are 18,000 pending felony cases in Fulton County, many of them being held pre-indictment. Like some of the delays in the January 6 investigation, this backlog stems in part from COVID restrictions.
But it wasn’t just that backlog that has delayed charges against Trump. In March, Willis asked Christina Bobb for an interview (who refused). It may be that, after reading Bobb’s January 6 Committee testimony (transcripts of which were only released after the Fulton Special Grand Jury expired), Willis discovered that, while Bobb claimed to have been uninvolved in the crimes in Georgia, she testified that she and, “at least two dozen others,” over at least two rooms, sat in on Trump’s call to Brad Raffensperger, and “we all thought … it was totally fine.” On top of discovering that there were up to 24 witnesses who might be willing to misrepresent the call at trial, this may have caught Rudy Giuliani in a lie. After it became public, Rudy amended his interrogatories in Ruby Freeman’s lawsuit to reflect some involvement in the call as well. Someone recently claimed to me that Willis’ case is “open and shut.” But it’s not “open and shut” if there were 24 unknown witnesses involved.
More famously, according to a letter seeking to disqualify an attorney representing most of the fake electors, Willis has been spending recent weeks interviewing fake electors and telling them, allegedly for the first time, that they could get immunity deals if they testified against other Republicans. Friday, one of the fake electors who also accessed voting machine data on January 7, joined Trump’s effort to undercut Willis’ authority, represented by a new attorney. All of which suggests that Willis is spending time not just making charging decisions, but making sure she can win the case.
On Monday, Willis informed the Fulton County Sheriff that she will be announcing charges in the investigation during the summer grand jury session that goes from July 11 to September 1, and requested he prepare for increased security accordingly. She wouldn’t ask for such measures if she hadn’t decided to charge the kind of people who incite riots. So there’s a very good chance she will charge Trump and his flunkies, and we have a pretty good idea when it will happen.