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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Bill Rankin

Fulton County DA: Trump’s federal indictment will not impact our case

ATLANTA — New York Attorney General Letitia James recently caused a stir when she said state-led cases against former President Donald Trump would have to be put on hold until the U.S. Department of Justice’s classified documents case plays out.

James, whose office is conducting a civil investigation of Trump’s alleged financial fraud, said not only her case could be delayed. She also specifically mentioned the indictment brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg against Trump for allegedly falsifying business records as well as the expected indictment to be obtained by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

“So, in all likelihood, I believe that my case, as well as DA Bragg and the Georgia case, will unfortunately have to be adjourned pending the outcome of the federal case,” James said during a live taping of the Pod Save America podcast. “So it all depends on the scheduling of this particular case.”

On Wednesday, the Fulton DA’s office appeared to disagree. “The federal indictments will not have any impact on the Fulton County election investigation,” the office said in a statement.

Pete Skandalakis, director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, concurred, noting he had asked his staff to research the issue.

“They know of no law that gives the federal government the ability to go first,” Skandalakis said. “They would both go forward.”

One exception would be if the federal government had a defendant in custody and refused to release that person for a state prosecution, Skandalakis said. But that does not apply here, because Trump was released Tuesday on a personal recognizance bond.

Another exception would be for an agreement to be reached by federal and state prosecutors to allow one case to go forward and the other to wait, he said. But that apparently has not happened either.

Last month, in a letter to Fulton’s chief Superior Court judge and other county officials, DA Fani Willis hinted that she might seek indictments in early to mid-August in her long-running inquiry of Trump and his allies. Willis listed 10 days between July 31 and August 18 in which she plans to have a large percentage of her staff work remotely. Those dates correspond with days Fulton grand juries will be meeting and when they could hand up indictments against the former president and others.


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