Fani Willis, the district attorney in Georgia’s Fulton County, where former President Donald Trump is being investigated for allegedly attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, said last week that they would announce their prosecution decisions on the matter by September 1 become. “The work is complete,” she told NBC affiliate WXIA. “We have been working for two and a half years. We’re ready to go.”
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This work was not without speed bumps. In early July, Trump’s team tried to remove Willis from the case, throwing out evidence collected by a special grand jury last year, on the grounds that continuing the investigation violated the former president’s constitutional rights. Prosecutors have also recently been the subject of at least one racial threat, calling them the N-word and a “Jim Crow Democrat whore,” and have since warned Fulton County commissioners to be “vigilant” and ” to stay safe” charges. “Some people may not be happy with the choices I’m making,” she added in comments to WXIA. “And sometimes when people are unhappy, they behave in ways that could be harmful.”
At 51, Willis is the first black woman to lead the Fulton Country District Attorney’s office, and in her nearly 20 years as a prosecutor, she has “tried more than 100 juries and handled hundreds of murder cases,” according to The New York Times. That stubborn work ethic has hurt her family life, she told The Wall Street Journal, but her biggest and most career-defining case may be that she’s just getting started.
As a child, Willis spent a lot of time in the courthouse with her father, “a former Black Panther and criminal defense attorney who practiced in the Washington, DC area,” reports the Times. She attended Howard University in the county and Emory Law School in Atlanta, where she eventually settled and began working in the district attorney’s office. Soon after, she “specialized in serious, complex crimes,” including murders, although her “biggest case” at the time was “leading the team involved in an infamous fraud scandal involving faculty and staff at the Atlanta Public Schools.” were convicted several times,” says the diary.
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Willis is best known for her work bringing Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) charges against popular rappers like Gunna and Young Thug, as well as suspected members of the Bloods and Drug Rich gangs. In the Drug Rich case, she used popular rap lyrics as evidence, although she criticized that such an approach violated the First Amendment. “I have legal advice,” she said at the time. “Don’t confess to crimes in rap lyrics if you don’t want them used, or at least get out of my county.” The Atlanta school cheating controversy was also a RICO case.
After Willis left the district attorney’s office in 2018, she ran for a job as a local judge (she lost) and later for a job as a district attorney. She was victorious, defeating her former boss, who was embroiled in a financial misconduct and harassment scandal at the time.
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On the night of January 3, 2021, The Washington Post published transcripts of a January 2 phone call between Trump and Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, in which Trump urged Raffensberger to “find” enough votes to reverse his defeat in the Biden contest – won state. Willis had recently assumed office as Fulton Country District Attorney but immediately launched an investigation into the former president, with “the phone call serving as a key piece of damning evidence against him,” according to The Independent.
About a year into the investigation, Willis convened a special grand jury to “compel testimony from witnesses who might otherwise be unwilling to speak to their team,” explained The Associated Press. This panel was convened in May 2022 and later released in January after issuing subpoenas, hearing several witnesses and drafting a report with recommendations for prosecutors. In July, a Georgia judge appointed two more grand juries that are now likely to decide whether to bring formal election interference charges against Trump, who continues to maintain his innocence.
“The young, ambitious, radical left-wing Democrat ‘district attorney’ from Georgia, who heads one of the most crime-ridden and corrupt places in the US, Fulton County, assembled a grand jury to investigate an absolutely ‘PERFECT’ phone call .” to the Secretary of State,” he wrote on Truth Social last May.
As part of their investigation, according to NBC News, several fake voters — “individuals who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump won the 2020 Georgia election and that they were the state’s official voters” — also had immunity agreements signed with Willis’ office.