Fani Willis’ investigation of Trump and his entourage intensifies

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is stepping up his investigation into former President Donald Trump after the special grand jury issued multiple subpoenas to members of his inner circle.

The latest batch of subpoenas have been issued to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and other legal advisers including John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Cleta Mitchell and Jenna Ellis – all of whom advised Trump on what action to take. overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“The fact that she has a special grand jury shows that she’s not backing down from this case,” said David Cooke, a former Macon, Ga., circuit court prosecutor who still stays in touch with Willis. “His number one goal is to obtain justice and protect the integrity of the case.”

Those decisions could bring her closer to announcing whether she will formally indict Trump — a move that could come as soon as this fall.

The 17-month Fulton County investigation poses one of Trump’s most pressing legal challenges, which centers on whether he or his top advisers may have violated the laws of the State against the solicitation of voter fraud and racketeering. And it also comes in the context of several other investigations into Trump by the Justice Department, New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civilian investigation into the Trump Organization, and most recently, the select committee of the Chamber investigating efforts to block the peaceful transfer of power that culminated on January 6.

When Willis formally announced her investigation of Trump, she said she would focus on Trump’s attempt to pressure Georgia state officials to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. . Since then, his investigation has expanded into an investigation into an alleged scheme to send a fake voters list to the Georgia State Capitol in an attempt to overturn the state’s election results, according to a subpoena. at Chesebro.

Legal experts Insider spoke to said Willis has plenty of incriminating evidence against Trump. For example, there is the phone call Trump made on January 2, 2021 to Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger where he pressured him to “find” just enough votes to carry the state.

“The phone call with Brad Raffensperger and listening to Trump’s voice is, I think, the strongest type of evidence you can produce against a defendant,” said Georgia State law professor Anthony Michael Kreis. University College of Law.

Kreis said Trump’s effort to overturn Georgia’s election results was part of an effort he’s repeated in other states Biden has won.

January 6 House Panel

House Jan. 6 Committee lawmakers.

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In recent weeks, the Jan. 6 committee has thrust Trump’s efforts in Georgia and other states back into the national spotlight after Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Raffensperger testified publicly before the committee. The two Republican officials testified that Trump and his associates tried to pressure them to investigate allegations of voter fraud that turned out to be false, or to remove voters Biden secured by winning the U.S. vote. ‘State.

These hearings allowed the public to hear directly from people who were pressured by Trump.

“It reiterated the horror of what the former president did,” said Peter Odom, a former prosecutor who worked with Willis in Fulton County.

Odom added that the evidence presented during the January 6 committee hearings drew more attention to Willis’ investigation of Trump.

“I know there are people out there who are hungry for justice. I know there are people out there who are frustrated with the apparent Teflon nature of this former president and that he is doing things in the open and n never got in trouble for anything,” Odom said.

High stakes

Since stepping into the national spotlight after announcing her investigation of Trump, Willis has stepped up security around her. Insider previously reported that Willis was surrounded by security as she walked back and forth through her Atlanta offices and even while walking around her neighborhood.

Death threats against her only increased after she announced there would be a special grand jury for the Trump investigation and after she took over the prosecution of well-known rapper Young Thug, who is expected to go on trial next year.

“It’s definitely a big driver of increased security,” Willis said in an interview with Atlanta’s WSB Channel 2 News. “People are angry about this investigation. People are angry about gang investigations, so each of these things plays a role.”

Legal experts told Insider that it was crucial for her to complete this investigation in order to make an informed decision about whether there was enough evidence to charge the former president, who is considered a candidate. likely at the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.

“An investigation of this magnitude. I mean, you’re talking about the President of the United States as a potential target for your investigation. And when you’re looking at criminal liability, I don’t think the stakes are higher than that,” said Clint Rucker, a former Fulton County assistant district attorney who worked alongside Willis.

Since Willis officially launched her investigation into Trump in February 2021, she has assembled a team that includes a racketeering law expert, former police officers and seasoned prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys to help her. Early in her investigation, she expressed frustration at the lack of cooperation from witnesses and called for a special grand jury.

The special grand jury has the power to issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to come forward and testify. It will also make recommendations on criminal prosecutions for Willis to consider. Several people testified before the special grand jury, including Raffensperger.

Those who have known Willis for years and still talk to her say she won’t bend under pressure.

“The evidence that’s coming out won’t put any pressure on her because the pressure Fani is putting on is the internal pressure she’s putting on herself to do a good job and get justice for the people,” Cooke said.

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