Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is moving full-speed ahead with her criminal investigation into then-President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.
As I wrote a couple weeks back, Willis has been playing her cards close to the vest, leaving those of us interested in her case to read between the lines of her public statements or rely on rare leaks out of her office to gauge where the investigation stands.
But Willis herself recently came forward with some details that ought to worry Trump, his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani and all the other people involved with the scheme to keep Trump in power despite losing to Joe Biden.
In short, according to Willis, prison time is a very real possibility.
“The allegations are very serious. If indicted and convicted, people are facing prison sentences,” Willis told The Washington Post on Tuesday in a report published Thursday.
Though Trump's efforts seemed entirely unlawful, it’s unclear whether he will ultimately face criminal charges stemming from Willis’ probe. But the Post noted at least 17 people have been notified they are targets of her investigation. That list includes Giuliani and several people who submitted fake documents to Congress, purportedly on Georgia’s behalf, that falsely declared Trump the winner of the state’s 2020 presidential election.
And, this is key, there’s potentially more targets who could be added to the list.
Willis said she anticipates her office will wrap up the “fact-finding” portion of the investigation by the end of the year, which, as she noted, means she’ll also need to make a decision soon on whether to call on Trump to testify. But her assertion bout potential prison sentences for those involved in Trump's election scheme couldn’t have come at a better time.
In an interview on Thursday, Trump offered what sounded like a thinly veiled threat when asked what would happen if he were indicted. The question was asked in reference to a federal investigation into Trump’s possession of top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate after leaving office, but his response illustrated his level of panic over repercussions for his lawlessness.
During that softball interview with right-wing commentator Hugh Hewitt, Trump claimed there would be “problems in this country the likes of which perhaps we’ve never seen before” if he’s indicted.
“I don’t think the people of the United States would stand for it,” Trump claimed. In reality, recent polling has shown a majority of Americans do think Trump should be charged for his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection, an attack inextricable from the broader effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and other states.
Willis’ remarks are a reminder that indictment — and potentially even prison — is a very real possibility for anyone, including presidents, involved in that effort.