Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is back in the spotlight after her office indicted 19 co-defendants, including Donald Trump, over efforts by the former president and his allies to derail the 2020 presidential election results.
The indictments are the culmination of an investigation that spanned more than two years and resulted in numerous charges including conspiracy and racketeering, which Willis has a history of successfully bringing against defendants.
The Atlanta area prosecutor, who has not shied away from prosecuting high-profile cases, presented his case before a grand jury on Monday.
Willis, a Democrat who is Fulton County’s first female DA, was just one day in office when the former president called Georgia’s GOP secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, on January 2, 2021, urging him to “seek” votes to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
He campaigned initially to restore integrity to the Fulton County district attorney’s office, was elected after ousting six-term incumbent Paul Howard and inheriting a stack of case backlogs.
Within a month, his office fired off letters to Georgia officials asking them to preserve documents related to attempts to influence the state’s 2020 election.
Trump has strongly denied wrongdoing, as have his allies who have also come under scrutiny. The former president criticized Willis, who is Black, calling him a “racist” and a “lunatic Marxist” and baselessly claiming he had ties to gang members.
Asked by CNN in February 2022 about the struggle to imagine a former president being indicted in his state, Willis said, “All I can think about is that we really live in a society where Lady Justice is blind, and it doesn’t matter if she’s rich. you are poor, Black, White, Democrat or Republican. If you break the law, you will be prosecuted.”
In addition to leading the election subversion investigation, Willis also brought anti-corruption charges against Grammy-winning rapper Young Thug and his associates. The district attorney is happy to talk about RICO – the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act – and has used it in unusual ways to bring charges against school officials and musicians, including Young Thug.
“The way he goes about any case, he starts at the top and he really digs into it. He follows every lead he can,” said Charlie Bailey, who previously worked with Willis at the Fulton County DA’s office and in the 2014 Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal case, where he used racketeering laws to extract guilty pleas from teachers and administrators.
“Ultimately he’s going to make a decision based on the facts that they’re going to find out,” Bailey told CNN in 2021. “And he’s going to make a decision based on applying that relevant law.”
Read more about the district attorney HERE.