Fani Willis investigating 2020 election law violations
Donald Trump’s campaign team posted a TV ad recently attacking Fani Willis, the Atlanta-area prosecutor. On Monday evening, Willis announced a 41-count indictment against Trump and 18 other persons including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, serving as a lawyer for Trump, and former White House Chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s office has been examining whether Trump broke the law by asking Georgia’s Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” 11,800 votes to reverse the results in favor of the former president.
The video, which has been widely shared on social media, attacked Willis’ character and record. Willis has said the ad contains “derogatory and false” claims but has not commented in greater detail, telling staff in a memo this week not to respond, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The campaign ad includes a reference to a June 2021 Fox 5 Atlanta report, quoting text that stated “Atlanta Violence: Nearly 60% More Murders”
While at that time Willis was district attorney for Fulton County, which covers most of Atlanta, she had been in the role for only around five months when the Fox report was published, which compared year-to-date statistics for June 2021 with those from June 2020.
End-of-year statistics from the Atlanta Police Department show there was an increase in homicides in 2021 compared to 2020 but only by two percent (157 in 2020 to 161 in 2021). In 2022, the department recorded a year-on-year rise of six percent (nine more homicides than the previous year).
A judge in Atlanta disqualified Willis from developing a case against Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, one of 16 people under investigation over an alleged fake electoral plot in Georgia.
Judge Robert C.I. McBurney of Fulton County Superior Court barred Willis because she had headlined a fundraiser for Jones’ Democratic rival during the race for the lieutenant governor’s office. The decision did not affect Willis’ wider election interference investigation, and her office could still ask witnesses about Jones.
No credible evidence has been presented to back up allegations that Willis has ever had a relationship with any gang member. As is quoted in the campaign ad, this is ostensibly based on a Rolling Stone interview with rapper YSL Mondo, co-founder of the Young Stoner Life (YSL) label that is accused of being a street gang. Willis had acted as Mondo’s defense attorney in 2019 in an aggravated assault case.
Mondo told the publication that the two had a “cool relationship” at the time.
“She ain’t trying to take all these little Black dudes down. She ain’t that type of woman, man. I’m telling you, she’s not,” he said. Mondo did not say the two had any relationship beyond that of attorney and client, nor did he accuse her of trying to hide their relationship.
Willis told Rolling Stone that she “liked” Mondo and hoped “he is well.”
“When I represented [him], he received 110% effort from me. I advocated for him with zeal. I tend to meet my clients where they are. I hope you understand what that means. I want to see him do amazing things with his life, and I hope that’s where he’s headed,” she said.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani said that Trump’s comments on the case could end in a protective order or gag order.
“The judge in the Atlanta case, if and when Trump is indicted, may issue both a protective order and a gag order. The protective order will cover documents produced in discovery, and is pretty standard.