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The special grand jury will begin issuing subpoenas for some of the 30 or so witnesses who have refused requests for voluntary interviews. Those initial witnesses will then be served and will start appearing in June. Mr. Trump and those closest to him have a history of rushing to court to fight subpoenas, but they are unlikely to be given the opportunity in this first wave. Careful prosecutors usually start with less controversial witnesses, and Ms. Willis is a careful prosecutor. If Mr. Trump or those closest to him are served, that is when subpoenas are most likely to be challenged in court — but that is probably months away.

If Mr. Trump is charged, it will set off a legal battle. There are substantial legal defenses that Mr. Trump could attempt. He could argue that he has constitutional immunity from prosecution for his acts while president, that his words were protected by the First Amendment or even that he acted in absolute good faith because he genuinely believed that he had won.

The judicial system will ultimately decide if these defenses will work. But soliciting election fraud is not within the scope of official presidential duties protected by immunity, the First Amendment does not protect criminal activity, and a president cannot successfully claim good faith when he was repeatedly told by his own officials that there was no fraud. Still, no one should consider the case a slam-dunk.

The case also in no way diminishes the importance of the House of Representatives’ Jan. 6 committee. In fact, the committee will most likely aid the Georgia prosecution while going about the business of its own investigation. (Ms. Willis and the committee have reportedly already been in contact.) For example, litigation with Mr. Meadows disclosed key details of the alleged plot to overturn the Georgia election. An email the committee filed from one of the lawyers helping Mr. Trump, Cleta Mitchell, included a detailed 11-point memo about overturning the election. Operating outside Washington, Ms. Willis might have taken years to obtain that email and other evidence like it.

Jury trials, which both of us have tried and supervised, are living events, and success is never assured. But in Georgia, if it reaches that stage, the evidence is strong, the law is favorable, the prosecutor is proven, and the cause — democracy itself — is just.

Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at Brookings and the executive chair at the States United Democracy Center, was special counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the first Trump impeachment and is the author of “Overcoming Trumpery.” Donald Ayer, a former U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration and deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration, is an adjunct professor at Georgetown Law and on the advisory board of States United.



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