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Georgia election probe report to remain secret for now

Georgia election probe report to remain secret for now

ATLANTA (AP) — A judge said Tuesday that a final report produced by a special grand jury tasked with investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke the law as they tried to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia will remain under wraps for now.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said he was considering whether to release the report after hearing arguments from prosecutors, who urged it be kept secret until they decide whether to file any charges, and a coalition of media organizations, which pressed for its release.

He said he would further reflect on the parties’ arguments and would reach out with any questions before making a final decision. He also said he anticipated his eventual decision would be appealed.

The report is expected to include recommendations for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on possible criminal prosecution. If McBurney decides to disseminate the report, as the special grand jury urged, he must also determine whether any parts of it should be redacted.

The investigation is one of several that threaten potential legal consequences for the Republican former president as he seeks reelection in 2024. Over a period of roughly seven months, the special grand jury heard from dozens of witnesses, including high-profile Trump allies, such as attorney Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and high-ranking Georgia officials, such as Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp.

Willis began investigating shortly after a recording of a January 2021 phone call between Trump and Raffensperger became public. In that call, the president suggested that the state’s top elections official, a fellow Republican, could “find” the votes needed to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump had said. “Because we won the state.”

A coalition of news organizations, including The Associated Press, argued in favor of releasing the report in full, saying public interest in the report is “extraordinary.” Attorney Tom Clyde, representing the news media, said arguments for keeping the report secret would typically be a case involving minors or highly private information.

“It doesn’t typically involve public officials who are involved in activities following a national election,” Clyde said.

Willis argued Tuesday that disclosing the report now could violate the rights of potential…

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