Hours before a Georgia grand jury issued the indictment charging Donald Trump and 18 allies over efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss. a document posted on the court’s website erroneously suggested the former president had already been charged before the file was quickly deleted. The posting of the case before grand jurors voted on the indictment — and officials’ failure to explain what happened — gave the former president an opening in court and on the campaign trial to try to paint Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ case as tainted and the criminal justice system as rigged against him, reports the Associated Press. .There is no evidence that the grand jury process was compromised, or that the document was intentionally leaked by prosecutors or court officials. The court’s clerk did little to tamp down speculation, refusing to say how the erroneous filing got online or publicly rule out whether it could have been the result of a hack.
Shortly after Reuters reported Monday afternoon that the erroneous filing was posted online, the court clerk called the document “fictitious,” and said documents without official case numbers “are not considered official filings and should not be treated as such.” The document that appeared online did have a case number — though it differed from the one ultimately listed on the indictment later handed down. Trump legal team has already suggested it would claim prosecutorial misconduct, saying after the document was posted that “this was not a simple administrative mistake,” but is “emblematic of the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception.” “The events that have unfolded today have been shocking and absurd, starting with the leak of a presumed and premature indictment before the witnesses had testified or the grand jurors had deliberated and ending with the District Attorney being unable to offer any explanation,” said Trump lawyers. “In light of this major fumble, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office clearly decided to force through and rush this 98-page indictment.”