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House Republicans subpoena Fani Willis as GOP heightens attacks against Trump prosecutor

Jim Jordan and Judiciary Committee Republicans set their sights on Fulton County prosecutor

Alex Woodward
Friday 02 February 2024 18:02 GMT
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Fani Willis defends prosecutor on Trump case after relationship claims

House Republicans have reportedly subpoenaed the Georgia prosecutor leading Fulton County’s sprawling election interference case against Donald Trump as part of a broader GOP effort to investigate whether Fani Willis misused federal funds in the criminal probe.

A subpoena from House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan obtained by NBC News alleges that Ms Willis failed to comply with earlier requests for documents and demands that she provide communications “referring or relating to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office’s receipt and use of federal funds” and “referring or relating to any allegations of the misuse of federal funds”.

The latest efforts from House Republicans join a wider campaign to undermine criminal prosecutions against the former president, amplifying right-wing media allegations that Ms Willis retaliated against a whistleblower employee who allegedly warned against the misuse of federal grant money.

Mr Jordan’s letter quotes from a report from right-wing media outlet The Washington Free Beacon that the employee was “abruptly terminated” and “escorted out of her office by seven armed investigators”, according to NBC News.

The Independent has requested comment from Mr Jordan’s office.

Fani Willis, Fulton County district attorney, appears in court on 21 November 2023 (AP)

In a statement following news of the subpoena, Ms Willis said that “these false allegations are included in baseless litigation filed by a holdover employee from the previous administration who was terminated for cause.”

“The courts that have ruled found no merit in these claims,” she added. “We expect the same result in any pending litigation.”

She said execution of federal grant programs – “focused on helping at-risk youth and seeking justice for sexual assault victims who were too long ignored” – was performed in compliance with the US Department of Justice. “We are proud of our grant programs and our partnership with the Department of Justice that makes Fulton County a safer, more just place,” she added.

Democratic US Rep Dan Goldman blasted the subpoena as a “blatant attempt to save Donald Trump from legal peril” and an example of actual “weaponization” of federal government authority that Mr Jordan and other Republican lawmakers have labelled prosecutions of the former president.

Mr Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants are criminally charged under Georgia’s anti-racketeering statute as part of a “criminal enterprise” to overturn the state’s election results in 2020 by pushing state officials and lawmakers to unlawfully reverse his loss while directing attacks on election equipment and pressuring election workers.

Ms Willis, who is routinely berated by the former president and whose office has faced an avalanche of racist abuse and threats, has come under heightened scrutiny in recent weeks after one of Mr Trump’s co-defendants – a GOP operative who worked on the Trump campaign –alleged Ms Willis had an improper relationship with a special prosecutor hired to lead the case.

​​She has been subpoenaed to testify at a hearing regarding those allegations on 15 February.

This month, Mr Trump’s attorneys joined a legal effort from co-defendant Mike Roman to disqualify Ms Willis from prosecuting them.

A complaint filed by Mr Trump’s defence attorneys accuses Ms Willis of injecting “racial animus” into the case and violating her prosecutorial responsibilities, pointing to allegations that she hired an outside prosecutor with whom she was romantically involved.

Four of their original co-defendants– including Trump-allied attorneys Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell – reached plea deals with prosecutors last year.

Mr Roman is accused of coordinating a fake elector scheme to fraudulently certify Mr Trump’s victory in the state after the 2020 presidential election. He and Mr Trump have pleaded not guilty.

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