Georgia prosecutor tells staff to ‘stay alert’ following racist threats with looming Trump indictment

Officials condemn ‘repugnant’ messages after former president baselessly smears Black prosecutors as ‘racist’

Alex Woodward
Tuesday 01 August 2023 19:18 BST
Related video: Former Georgia official compares nominating Trump to ‘peeing your pants’

The Black prosecutor overseeing an investigation into Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn election results in Georgia has faced a wave of racist hate mail as the former president faces several likely imminent criminal indictments.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis warned prosecutors to “stay alert” over the next several weeks as her office likely prepares an indictment involving Mr Trump and his allies following efforts to upend the 2020 presidential election.

One email with the subject like “Fani Willis = Corrupt N*****” said “You are going to fail, you Jim Crow Democrat whore.”

The message is “pretty typical” of the emails and “equally ignorant voicemails” her office has received, she wrote in a message to staff, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I expect to see many more over the next 30 days ... I guess I am sending this as a reminder that you should stay alert over the month of August and stay safe,” she added. “I took an oath. No one other than the citizens of Fulton County put me in this seat. I have every intention of doing my job. Please make decisions that keep your staff safe.”

Fulton County solicitor general Keith Gammage said the “repugnant, hateful” and “ignorant” messages appear designed to intimidate law enforcement against prosecuting the former president.

“In my view, the words chosen, taken together go beyond harassing communications and constitute a veiled threat to a public official,” he added. “These are haunting words and the reference to Jim Crow harkens back to a time that we will never revisit.”

The investigation is among several facing the former president, who is separately the subject of a US Department of Justice special counsel probe into his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. He also faces dozens of federal charges stemming from a separate federal indictment involving the alleged mishandling of dozens of sensitive government documents.

Racist threats against Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg followed his office’s investigation and criminal charges against Mr Trump, who has pleaded not guilty to fraud-related charges from hush-money payments allegedly used to bury potentially damaging stories about his affairs in the leadup to the 2016 election.

Mr Trump’s business empire also faces a $250m lawsuit from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The former president has baselessly and repeatedly called all three of those Black prosecutors “racist”.

Ms Willis’s office has helmed the investigation into the former president and his allies for more than two years, following Mr Trump’s pressure campaign targeting state officials to reject the results.

She began investigating Mr Trump shortly after his call to Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, who was pressed to find “11,870 votes” – just enough needed for then-President Trump to beat Joe Biden in the state.

A special grand jury previously heard testimony from 75 witnesses, including aides and former attorneys to Mr Trump. That jury concluded its report in January with recommendations for state prosecutors to bring charges that will soon be reviewed by the newly impaneled grand jury.

Last month, a separate grand jury was sworn in to hear evidence and consider charges against Mr Trump and others. Ms Willis has indicated that any potential charges stemming from the grand juries could come in August.

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