A Georgia judge on Monday denied an attempt by Donald Trump to halt Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s investigation into whether the former president and his allies interfered in the state’s 2020 presidential election, calling his allegations of wrongdoing in the probe “overwrought.”
In a nine-page ruling Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney found that neither Trump nor Cathleen Latham, a Trump “alternate elector” challenging the probe, had legal standing to block the investigation at this point.
He said their claims are “insufficient” because “while being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigation.”
The ruling is the second against Trump on the issue in two weeks. The Georgia Supreme Court denied a similar request from Trump on July 17. A third petition to the Fulton County Superior Court is pending, with a hearing scheduled for Aug. 10.
In his Monday ruling, McBurney suggested his ruling should make the third action moot.
He noted that Trump could raise the same concerns to the courts after he’s indicted, but said it’s premature for him to do so now.
“Guessing at what that picture might look like before the investigative dots are connected may be a popular game for the media and blogosphere, but it is not a proper role for the courts and formal legal argumentation,” McBurney wrote.
“There will be time and forum in which Trump and Latham can raise their concerns about the constitutionality of the special purpose grand jury statutes, about the performance of this particular Special Purpose Grand Jury (and the judge supervising it), and about the propriety of allowing the Fulton County District Attorney to remain involved with whatever criminal prosecution — if any results from the work of this Special Purpose Grand Jury. That time is not now and that forum is not here.
“Should either (or both) movant be indicted, they can raise all these issues (as they undoubtedly will) before the judge,” he wrote.
The district attorney’s office declined comment on the ruling. Representatives for Trump and Latham did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing in the case and maintains Willis, a Democrat, is leading a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him.
Willis has indicated that she could seek indictments in the case in the first half of August.
Trump has also been notified by special counsel Jack Smith that he’s a target in his federal investigation into interference in the 2020 election. Trump has denied wrongdoing and accused Smith of “election interference” since Trump is now running for president.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com