Defendant in Georgia election interference case asks judge to unseal records

Attorney Kenneth Chesebro wants access to the grand jury report and transcripts.

August 29, 2023, 5:14 PM

Attorney Kenneth Chesebro, one of the 19 defendants in the Fulton County election interference case, filed a motion Monday asking a judge to unseal a host of underlying records in the case -- including the special grand jury report that recommended charges, the transcripts of testimony heard by the panel, and any recordings of the proceedings.

Chesebro is set to stand trial in the case on Oct. 23, after a judge granted his request for a speedy trial. He, Smith and former President Donald Trump were charged along with 16 others earlier this month in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia. The former president says his actions were not illegal and that the investigation is politically motivated.

In his motion on Monday, Chesebro's attorneys said the materials he's requesting "are critical for Chesebro to obtain in order to properly prepare for trial."

The motion said that numerous witnesses "including co-Defendants, unindicted co-conspirators, and traditional witnesses" testified before the special purpose grand jury, and that Chesebro "anticipates that many of these same people will testify at his trial."

"Finally, there is also an overarching due process concern that Mr. Chesebro have access to all prior testimony of witnesses who are expected to testify at trial (and made statements before the special purpose grand jury) in order to properly defend himself," the filing said.

PHOTO: Kenneth Chesebro is seen in a mugshot provided by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office in Georgia, Aug. 23, 2023.
Kenneth Chesebro is seen in a mugshot provided by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office in Georgia, Aug. 23, 2023.
Fulton County Sheriff's Office

Chesebro's attorney, Scott Grubman, told ABC News, "Mr. Chesebro has the right to obtain as much information as he can regarding the grand jury proceeding which, after indictment, is not considered secret. That is the purpose of these motions."

The special purpose grand jury -- which did not have indictment power but recommended that charges be brought -- was seated for nearly eight months and heard testimony from over 75 witnesses, including some of Trump's closest allies. A portion of its findings were released in a final report, excerpts of which were released to the public in February.

In a separate motion on Monday, Chesebro moved to conduct "voluntary interviews" of members of the separate grand jury that ultimately returned the indictment, in order to ask them if they "actually read the entire indictment or, alternatively, whether it was merely summarized for them," the filing said.

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