The Atlanta-area district attorney investigating former president Donald Trump and his allies for potential election interference notified top county officials that most of her staff will work remotely for many days in the first three weeks of August, a signal she may file indictments in the high-profile case within that period.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) had previously said in a letter to law enforcement officials that she would announce possible criminal indictments in the case between July 11 and Sept. 1.
But in a letter Thursday to Fulton County Superior Court Chief Judge Ural Glanville, Willis appeared to narrow that window even further, writing that her office’s in-person staff will be reduced by about 70 percent on most Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays — the days when criminal grand juries are scheduled to meet — from July 31 to Aug. 18.
She noted in the letter that most judges will be at a conference the first week of August, during which few in-person proceedings will be held, and she requested that no trials or in-person hearings be held Aug. 7-14. More than 20 other top county officials were copied on the letter, including Sheriff Pat Labat, the court clerk and the entire county judicial bench.
Willis noted that during the remote period, “my leadership team, all armed investigators, my Case Intake Division, and personnel at the Juvenile Court building will be working every day.” She added that any in-person meetings scheduled during the outlined time frame would be handled directly by senior leadership.
“Thank you for your consideration and assistance in keeping the Fulton County Judicial Complex safe during this time,” Willis wrote in the letter, which was first reported by the New York Times.
Willis has been investigating Trump and his allies for potential interference in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. A special grand jury investigating potential crimes concluded in January and recommended charges — though the panel’s final report and those recommendations remain under seal “to protect the rights of future defendants,” according to Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury proceedings.
Trump’s Georgia-based legal team has sought to quash any potential case before charges are unsealed. In March, attorneys for the former president pushed to recuse Willis’ office from any potential case and throw out the special grand jury’s final report and any evidence obtained during the investigation. The motion that was later joined by Cathy Latham, a Georgia Republican who served as an alternate Trump elector and has been named a target of the investigation.
Willis pushed back in a Monday filing, writing that the Trump legal team’s motion was “procedurally flawed and advance arguments that lack merit.”
On Tuesday, Trump’s attorneys requested three weeks to file a response to Willis’s motion. But in a Friday order, McBurney noted that the court “has received well over five hundred pages of briefing” on the issues raised. “That is plenty,” McBurney wrote, adding that there will be no more briefing unless it is requested by the court “in writing.”
The move indicates a decisive order or a hearing is likely impending in the controversy — though McBurney gave no indication of his timetable.
Willis has been investigating potential interference in Georgia’s elections for more than two years. She launched a criminal probe into potential election interference in March 2021 after The Washington Post published a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), during which the former president told the state’s top election official he needed to “find 11,780 votes.”
The district attorney had been eying this spring for announcing potential charges in the case but pushed that back amid the ongoing investigation. In recent developments, at least eight of the alternate Republican electors who were previously named targets of the investigation have accepted immunity in the case and are cooperating with prosecutors.
But Willis’s decision to push a potential charging announcement into the summer was also driven by concerns about the readiness of local law enforcement in a case that has national implications and for which she and her office have been the subject of threats.
Last year, she asked the FBI for security assistance after Trump attacked her during a Texas rally.
In recent months, Trump, who continues to maintain the 2020 election in Georgia was “stolen,” has renewed his attacks on Willis, who is Black, calling her the “racist D.A. from Atlanta.”
“In the wings, they’ve got a local racist Democrat district attorney from Atlanta who is doing everything in her power to indict me over an absolutely perfect phone call,” Trump told supporters in April just hours after he was criminally charged in a New York tax case.
Weeks later, Willis first notified local and state law enforcement about her summer timetable, urging a “need for heightened security and preparedness in coming months due to this pending announcement.”