Fulton County, Ga. District Attorney Fani Willis said Monday that she is planning to announce any potential indictments in her probe of TrumpWorld attempts to overturn the state’s 2020 election over the summer.
Willis sent a letter to the county sheriff’s office warning of a need for “heightened security” ahead of the announcement over concerns of violence. The charges would be announced between July 11 and September 1, when the next grand jury meets, she said.
“In the near future, I will announce charging decisions resulting from the investigation my office has been conducting into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General Election,” Willis wrote to Sheriff Patrick Labat. “I am providing this letter to bring to your attention the need for heightened security and preparedness in coming months due to this pending announcement.”
Willis warned that there could be violence in response to the announcement.
“Open-source intelligence has indicated the announcement of the decisions in this case may provoke a significant public reaction,” Willis wrote. “We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of our community. As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to prepare.”
Willis said in January that charging decisions in the two-year probe would be “imminent” but her timetable has been delayed “in part because a number of witnesses have sought to cooperate as the investigation has neared an end,” according to The New York Times.
Willis launched the probe after the release of Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking him to “find” enough votes to overturn his loss. The probe has since expanded to other attempts by Trump’s allies to overturn his loss, including the fake elector plot.
A special grand jury that examined the evidence recommended charges against more than a dozen people, forewoman Emily Kohrs said in February. A regular grand jury will now examine the evidence.
Trump’s legal team filed a motion seeking to block any potential indictment, citing Kohrs’ media interviews.
“On behalf of President Trump, we filed a substantive legal challenge for which the DA’s Office has yet to respond,” Trump attorneys Drew Findling, Jennifer Little and Marissa Goldberg told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which first reported the letter. “We look forward to litigating that comprehensive motion which challenges the deeply flawed legal process and the ability of the conflicted DA’s Office to make any charging decisions at all.”
Legal experts say the letter suggests that Trump will be among those indicted.
“It obviously seems to imply the case against Trump will be presented to a grand jury,” former Republican Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter told AJC. “I don’t think any of the other targets would raise that level of caution. I think that’s the obvious implication.”
Norm Eisen, who served as a Democratic counsel in Trump’s first impeachment and authored a report on the Fulton probe, agreed that the letter is a signal that Willis is preparing to indict the former president.
“While she does not have the former president’s name in her letter, the evidence and the applicable law in Georgia point to the substantial likelihood that Donald Trump and his principal co-conspirators will be included when she follows through on the plans she confirms in this letter,” he told the outlet.
The delay comes amid reports that some of the alleged fake electors are “flipping on one another,” noted conservative anti-Trump attorney George Conway.
“That’s a big development. That’s something that’s worth her pursuing,” he told MSNBC.
Conway added on Twitter that if Willis is “putting out a red-alert all-hands-on-deck memo to law enforcement,” the top defendant is not going to be a Trump underling like former attorney Rudy Giuliani or former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
“The lead defendant will probably be someone else,” he wrote.
Former prosecutor Elie Honig, a CNN legal analyst, agreed that the letter is a “not-so-subtle indicator” that Willis has “every intention” to indict Trump but warned that the delay could damage the case.
“This should not have taken two and a half plus years. And now as a result of that, Donald Trump supporters are going to say, first of all, we didn’t see an indictment for two and a half years until after Donald Trump, A. announced candidacy and, B. is emerging as a frontrunner,” he said.
“They’re not going to get to a trial until the middle of 2024 at the earliest if we see a charge this summer,” he added. “There is discovery and appeals and motions, and is a state judge really going to hold a trial of a potential Republican frontrunner or nominee that close to an election? I’m not so sure. And I think Fani Willis bears responsibility for taking this long to do this.”
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