Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee approved in part a request for members of the special purpose grand jury—which recommended charges be brought over then-President Donald Trump's challenge of the 2020 election—to be interviewed.
President Trump and 18 others were indicted by another, separate grand jury in August for violating Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act and 40 other counts. Two of the defendants have since demanded a speedy trial, and so Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell will be tried together on Oct. 23.
Lawyers for Mr. Chesebro and Ms. Powell, both of whom served as legal counsel for President Trump during his challenge, albeit on separate matters, had requested in court that they be allowed access to interview the special purpose grand jury members as well as the transcripts for the 75 witness testimonies they heard.
Attorneys for both Mr. Chesebro and Ms. Powell have already filed separate motions to dismiss their charges. They argued that none of the acts they are named in are criminal acts, or "sufficiently allege" the charges they are connected to.
“Defense counsel here are entitled, and would be expected, to conduct a thorough investigation in the zealous representation of their clients,” Judge McAfee wrote.
The court will contact each juror, asking whether they are willing to be interviewed on the record in the presence of the court, whether remotely or in person. The judge will oversee all such interviews to make sure the personal information of the grand jurors are kept privileged.
The defense lawyers will have three business days to submit their proposed questions, and the prosecutors will have three days to respond.
The judge also denied the request for the 75 witness testimonies, citing the Supreme Court. "All grand juries require secrecy and protection from certain disclosures,” he wrote. "These materials are the property of the District Attorney, not the Court, to do with as she sees fit."
However, he ordered that testimonies for any of the 75 witnesses called in any hearings to be shared with the defense "at the time the state, in good faith, decides to call that individual at any pretrial hearing, or at the time the State adds the individual to its list of witnesses."
Special Purpose Grand JuryOn May 2, 2022, the special purpose grand jury was sworn in, and over the next half year heard testimony from 75 witnesses.
"The Grand Jury was impaneled to investigate a specific issue: the facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to possible attempts to disrupt the lawful administration of the 2020 presidential elections in the State of Georgia," the report read.
The panel allowed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to subpoena witnesses who otherwise would not have testified in court.
It submitted its final report on Dec. 15, 2022, which was released in part at first. President Trump had filed a motion to quash the report, which was thrown out.
The full report was released in August only after the indictment, revealing the list of individuals the panel had recommended prosecuting. Some of these recommendations were regarding perjury, as the grand jurors believed some of the 75 witnesses had lied under oath in their testimonies. None of the testimonies were made public.
The prosecution has already shared a list of these individuals with the defense attorneys for Mr. Chesebro and Ms. Powell.
“This Grand Jury contained no election law experts or criminal lawyers. The majority of this grand jury used their collective best efforts, however, to attend every session, listen to every witness, and attempt to understand the facts as presented and the laws as explained,” they wrote.