Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has spoken out ahead of numerous possible indictments against former President Donald Trump and more than a dozen of his associates.
Following a sprawling two year investigation, Willis has hinted on multiple occasions that charges could be coming for what her office alleges were efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
“Some people may not be happy with the decisions that I’m making,” she told local news outlet 11 Alive during an impromptu interview while handing out school supplies in Sandy Springs. “And sometimes, when people are unhappy, they act in a way that could create harm.”
While not specifying details, Willis said that Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat has undertaken measures to increase security at the courthouse. Willis sent a letter this past May urging the department to prepare for a high profile announcement widely expected to be charges against the former president. Labat’s team traveled to New York and Florida — two places where Trump has already been indicted — to study how authorities there enhanced security protocols.
“I think that the sheriff is doing something smart in making sure that the courthouse stays safe,” Willis said. “I’m not willing to put any of the employees or the constituents that come to the courthouse in harm’s way.”
At least 18 people have been notified they are targets of the Fulton County investigation, though Georgia law does not require authorities to notify individuals if they are targets of an investigation.
On July 31, Judge Robert McBurney denied a motion from Trump’s legal team to disqualify Willis and stop an indictment.
In his nine-page ruling, McBurney called the Trump team’s argument “insufficient because, while being the subject (or even target) of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience, no court ever has held that that status alone provides a basis for the courts to interfere with or halt the investigations.”
The Washington Post reports that local officials were considering the logistics of how high-profile defendants might surrender for arrest, citing an unnamed source familiar with the law enforcement preparations. Typically, as the Post states, those indicted in Fulton County are arrested and processed for fingerprints at the Fulton County jail prior to making an initial court appearance.
“The work is accomplished. We’ve been working for two-and-a-half years. We’re ready to go,” Willis said, hinting that formal charges will soon be announced.
The first-term district attorney, as a security precaution, has directed her team to work remotely from July 31 through mid-August, a timeline that coincides with the days during which indictments are expected.
“The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is proactively coordinating with local, state and federal agencies to enhance security during … high profile legal proceedings at the Fulton County Courthouse,” Natalie Ammons, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, told the Post in an email. “Some of the measures we are deploying, such as barriers that will limit parking near the courthouse, will be obvious to the public. For security reasons, other measures being deployed will not be as obvious.”
Under Georgia law, defendants do not have to be present when an indictment is unsealed, so the grand jury’s decision could be made public as soon as it is delivered to a judge, the Post added.
Anyone charged in an indictment would be able to negotiate the terms of surrender with authorities.