(CNN) — A coalition of media outlets is asking the Georgia Supreme Court to reconsider a decision that blocked the full release of a Fulton County special grand jury report, which includes recommendations for whether former President Donald Trump or any of his associates should face criminal charges for their efforts to undermine the 2020 election.
A lower court order blocking most of the report’s release “prevented the public and press from reading the full Report even though it addresses a subject of paramount public concern to this state and nation: possible wrongdoing in connection with the US Presidential election of 2020, including possible wrongdoing by the then sitting US President,” the media coalition, which includes CNN, argued Friday in a court filing.
The Georgia Supreme Court can decide whether or not to take up the appeal, which comes after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney released snippets of the report earlier this month.
But McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury, decided to keep the vast majority of the document under seal, including recommendations for who should face criminal charges.
McBurney wrote in his decision that it was a matter of “fundamental fairness” to keep the special grand jury’s conclusions under wraps to protect the rights of potential defendants and others named in the report.
“Here, however, for anyone named in the special purpose grand jury’s final report who was not afforded the opportunity to appear before the grand jury, none of those due process rights has been satisfied,” McBurney wrote in his February order. “And for those who did appear — willingly or not — only the right to be heard (although without counsel or rebuttal) was protected.”
The media coalition argued Friday that the special grand jury’s report constitutes a court document primed for public release and claimed the reputational concerns of those named in the report do not outweigh the public’s interest in viewing its findings.
“The Report should be a public court record so that the citizens of the nation and this County can determine for themselves whether the future prosecutorial decisions of the District Attorney’s Office ‘do justice’ under Georgia’s laws,” the media coalition wrote.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, an elected Democrat, has previously argued against the report’s public release, citing her ongoing investigation.
Ultimately, the special grand jury can’t issue indictments on its own. It will be up to Willis to determine who to pursue charges against.
Since McBurney’s decision to keep most of the report secret, more information about the panel’s findings has publicly emerged. Emily Kohrs, the foreperson for the special grand jury granted a handful of media interviews, including with CNN, in which she suggested the panel had recommended more than a dozen people for indictment.
She declined to say whether Trump was on that list of recommendations, but told CNN, “There may be some names on that list that you wouldn’t expect. But the big name that everyone keeps asking me about — I don’t think you will be shocked.”
Trump’s lawyers have slammed the foreperson’s media tour, saying in a statement that the media blitz “proves that whatever conclusions were drawn” by the grand jury “were not the result of an analytical, trustworthy, or credible investigation, as one would expect in a matter of historic proportion such as this.”
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