The forewoman of a special grand jury in Georgia’s recent spate of media interviews may have helped Donald Trump’s insistence that the investigation into his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results is a “witch hunt,” but will not hinder the inquiry, a legal expert tells Newsweek.
Emily Kohrs, who spent eight months hearing evidence and witness testimony as part of the Fulton County criminal probe, recently took part in a media blitz detailing some aspects of the special grand jury’s report, including indictment recommendations.
During interviews with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Associated Press, and The New York Times, as well as in appearances on CNN and NBC, Kohrs said that the list of recommended indictments in the report “is not short,” while indicating Trump could be one of the names.
Kohrs also suggested that she would be disappointed if no charges were brought forward following the special grand jury’s recommendations because “too much of my time” was spent on it, and provided other details and tidbits of information about the witness testimonies.
Elsewhere, Kohrs openly mocked Trump over the former president’s claim that he had “total exoneration” from the grand jury investigation.
“Did he really say that? Oh, that’s fantastic,” Kohls told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s phenomenal. I love it.”
Neama Rahmani, a former federal prosecutor and president of Los Angeles-based West Coast Trial Lawyers, said that while perhaps inadvisable, Kohrs did not violate state laws by discussing the special grand jury report as revealing its deliberations.
It is also Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, not the special grand jury, who will ultimately decide on whether to bring forward any charges in the investigation.
“Kohrs’ media tour isn’t helpful, and feeds into Trump’s argument that the grand jury investigation is a political witch hunt by a Democratic district attorney and the left-leaning mainstream news media,” Rahmani told Newsweek.
“But setting aside the bad optics, it won’t have much of a legal effect on a potential indictment. The special grand jury could only investigate and make recommendations on what charges to bring. Willis can indict Trump or others because of, or in spite of, Kohrs and her fellow grand jurors’ recommendations,” he said.
Kohrs has been widely condemned for giving such extensive media interviews about the ongoing case.
Former Department of Justice inspector general Michael Bromwich described Kohrs as a “reckless idiot” on Twitter amid reports that a number of Republican witnesses in Fulton County are preparing to move to quash any possible indictments because of her public statements during the ongoing criminal investigation.
Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, told MSNBC that he had never seen a grand juror of any kind, special or otherwise, “come out and speak like this” in his 25-year career.
“I am deeply troubled by the fact that this much disclosure is going on in this process, and I think it has legal ramifications,” Figliuzzi said.
Unsurprisingly, Trump himself also criticized Kohrs for her media appearances while describing the Georgia investigation as a “strictly political continuation of the greatest Witch Hunt of all time” and accusing Willis, who is Black, of being “racist.”
“Now you have an extremely energetic young woman, the (get this!) ‘foreperson’ of the Racist D.A.’s Special Grand Jury, going around and doing a Media Tour revealing, incredibly, the Grand Jury’s inner workings & thoughts,” Trump wrote on social media.
“This is not JUSTICE, this is an illegal Kangaroo Court.”
In a series of tweets, MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Rubin defended Kohrs, though said the quotes she gave were reminiscent of “an overconfident gymnast on a balance beam.”
“One somersault or even an errant step away from a big tumble that could hurt the process. Fortunately, she stayed on,” Rubin wrote.
“For all the talking she did, she didn’t say much. Yes, we now know Meadows testified and invoked privilege often. Yes, she confirmed they recommended indictments of more than a dozen people. Yes, she was flabbergasted & amused when told of Trump’s claim of ‘total exoneration,'” Rubin added.
“But did she reveal deliberations about specific charges or people? At worst, she explained why the special grand jury declined to call Trump for testimony.
“I’m not saying a future defendant won’t make a motion of some kind based on her media tour. But given that GA special grand juries are investigative, not charging, bodies & that GA law, unlike federal law, favors public disclosure of grand jury proceedings, it’ll likely fail.”