Fulton DA signals August charging decisions in Trump election probe

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis with Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis says most of her staff will work remotely when grand juries are in session during the first half of August. She has also asked judges to avoid scheduling trials or in-person hearings during this time, citing safety reasons. 

The guidance suggests Willis may be planning to announce charging decisions that month from her investigation into efforts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election result for former President Donald Trump.

Willis made the request in a Thursday letter addressed to Fulton County Chief Judge Ural Glanville. She copied Fulton County officials, law enforcement and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury investigation.

Last month, Willis told law enforcement she would make charging decisions during the grand jury term that begins July 11 and ends Sept. 1. She said the announcement may “provoke a significant public reaction” and asked officials to prepare.

With the help of a special grand jury, the district attorney’s office has been probing the actions of Trump and his allies following the 2020 election, including a now infamous phone call during which the president asked Georgia’s Secretary of State to “find” him the number of votes he would have needed to carry the state.  

Trump’s lawyers have moved to quash the report and disqualify Willis from prosecuting, saying the investigation violated “all notions of fundamental fairness.

“No matter what decision I make in that case, emotions are going to be high, and people may want to do things that would be harmful,” Willis told WABE earlier this month. “I always tell my staff if you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”

Willis’ Thursday letter offers the latest clues into her timeline. She said 70% of staff in the district attorney’s office have been scheduled to work remotely on 10 days between July 31 and August 18, excluding her leadership team, armed investigators, the case intake division and Juvenile Court staff. 

She noted most judges will be at the state’s annual judicial conference July 31 through August 4, so she requested they refrain from holding in-person hearings and trials during the second two weeks of August.

“Thank you for your consideration and assistance in keeping the Fulton County Judicial Complex safe during this time,” Willis wrote.