Georgia judge allows lawyers Chesebro, Powell to interview Trump grand jury

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Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A Georgia judge on Tuesday gave lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, who were indicted with former President Donald Trump for their attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election, permission to interview members of the grand jury that indicted them.

Chesebro and Powell had made the longshot plea to Judge Scott McAfee of the Fulton County Superior Court in the hopes of determining whether the indictment was "properly returned," court documents obtained by UPI show.

District Attorney Fani Willis' office objected and characterized the motion as a bid to "perform an illegal investigation" and "improperly pierce the secrecy of deliberations."

McAfee ruled that Willis' team "rightly" pointed out that the preservation of grand jury secrecy "is a well-settled principle in Georgia."

However, he wrote that the court has not found any legal authority that states defense counsel are forbidden from contacting grand jurors.

"Defense counsel here are entitled, and would be expected, to conduct a thorough investigation in the zealous representation of their clients," McAfee wrote.

"Setting aside scenarios involving harassment of some kind, the desire to simply talk to the grand jurors is not 'illegal.'"

Daysha Young, an assistant district attorney in Fulton County, had expressed concern for the safety of the jurors, The Messenger reported.

"We've had to contact law enforcement agencies all over Fulton County to make sure these grand jurors are safe," Young said in court at the time.

McAfee did outline some conditions in his seven-page order including that the interviews must be voluntary and cannot be allowed to lead jurors to disclose their deliberations.

The judge said questions will be submitted to the court ahead of any possible interviews and that he will decide which questions are to be asked and oversee the interviews if any grand juror agrees to be questioned.

McAfee did deny requests from Chesebro and Powell to access copies of all recordings, transcripts and reports produced by the separate special purpose grand jury that investigated the case for eight months.