The Fulton County Superior Court clerk’s office asserted that an indictment of former President Donald Trump, which appeared on the court’s website before the grand jury’s decision, was mistakenly uploaded during a system test. This clarification came via an official statement from the office.
On Monday, a document detailing 13 charges against Trump briefly appeared on the court’s website. It was first identified by Reuters and was soon taken down. By Tuesday, once the indictment against Trump and 18 co-defendants was officially disclosed and unsealed, the court clerk claimed that the early release of the document was unintentional and happened during a system trial.
“In anticipation of issues that arise with entering a potentially large indictment, County Courts Clerk Ché Alexander used charges that pre-exist in Odyssey to test the system and conduct a trial run. Unfortunately, the sample working document led to the docketing of what appeared to be an indictment, but which was, in fact, only a fictitious docket sheet,” the press release said.
The release of the document on Monday afternoon prompted significant confusion about the timeline of proceedings, given that the grand jury had not completed its deliberations at that time. “They deliberated till almost 8:00 [and], if not right after 8:00, an indictment was returned,” said District Attorney Fani Willis at a press conference after the indictment was unsealed, according to Fox News.
The premature document release caused confusion regarding the order of events, especially since the grand jury hadn’t finalized its decision then. District Attorney Fani Willis clarified the timeline in a press conference: “They deliberated until around 8:00 or shortly after before returning an indictment,” as reported by Fox News.
When media first covered the unexpected document release, the clerk’s office immediately described it as “fictitious … documents that do not bear an official case number, filing date, and the name of The Clerk of Courts, in concert, are not considered official filings and should not be treated as such.”
The confirmed indictment, bearing the same information, was shared by the clerk on Monday night.
JUST IN: Fulton County clerk Ché Alexander who leaked the charges against Donald Trump before the grand jury voted to indict claims she accidentally clicked ‘send’ instead of ‘save.’
That still doesn’t explain how they knew exactly what the charges would be…
“I have no dog in… pic.twitter.com/LU4PuPpnOj
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 16, 2023
One of Trump’s lawyers, Marissa Goldberg, said that “[t]his is emblematic of the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception.”
In a statement shared by Trump on Truth Social, his campaign called Willis a “rabid partisan who is campaigning on a platform of prosecuting President Trump through these bogus indictments … They could have brought this two and a half years ago, yet they chose to do this for election interference reasons in the middle of President Trump’s successful campaign.” Trump himself criticized the indictment on Truth Social, calling Willis “out of control and very corrupt.”