Why It Matters: The Georgia investigation could result in Donald J. Trump being indicted this summer.
Mr. Trump has already been criminally indicted in a separate case in New York over hush-money payments made to a porn star, and the Justice Department has two other criminal investigations into Mr. Trump underway. There are indications that the Georgia inquiry could result in a broad indictment that may directly address whether Mr. Trump violated state laws as he sought to overturn President Biden’s victory in the weeks after the 2020 election.
A number of experts have said that it would be difficult for Mr. Trump’s legal team to derail the Georgia investigation this early in the process. However, the judge presiding over the case, Robert C.I. McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court, has ruled against Ms. Willis in the past.
Most notably, Judge McBurney ruled last July that Ms. Willis’s office could not pursue a criminal case against Lt. Gov. Burt Jones of Georgia, a Republican who was one of 16 Trump supporters who filed bogus papers claiming to be the state’s presidential electors. Ms. Willis, the judge ruled, had a conflict of interest because she had headlined a fund-raiser for Mr. Jones’s Democratic rival in the lieutenant governor’s race.
Background: Mr. Trump has accused the chief prosecutor in the case of bias.
The special grand jury’s report remains largely under seal, and Mr. Trump’s lawyers, in their motion, asked that it be “quashed and expunged from the record.”
The special grand jury heard evidence for roughly seven months before recommending more than a dozen people for indictments, according to its forewoman, who strongly hinted in a February interview with The New York Times that Mr. Trump was among them.
Mr. Trump’s motion criticized public statements that Ms. Willis made in 2021 and 2022, pointing in particular to a “biased political cartoon” that was retweeted by Ms. Willis’s campaign Twitter account last July. The cartoon depicted her in a boat with a fishing rod, “fishing a recently subpoenaed witness out of a swamp,” as the Trump motion put it.
The Trump motion also said that Judge McBurney had made prejudicial statements, and that Georgia’s laws governing special grand juries were so vague as to be unconstitutional.
Ms. Willis’s response said the Trump team’s contentions were “procedurally flawed” and “advance arguments that lack merit.” It noted that if Ms. Willis’s statements and Twitter posts “were the egregious grounds for disqualification which he asserts they are,” Mr. Trump “had a duty to raise them to the court’s attention as soon as he learned of them.”
What’s Next: The judge will decide whether to hold a hearing on Mr. Trump’s requests.
Ms. Willis, in her motion, asked that Judge McBurney settle the matter without holding a hearing. It remains to be seen if he will set one.
Also unclear is whether Mr. Trump, a master of legal delay tactics, can somehow use the skirmish as a way to delay Ms. Willis’s timetable. Last month, Ms. Willis wrote in a letter to law enforcement officials that a decision on any charges against Mr. Trump or others would come between July 11 and Sept. 1.