It looks like the nation will be experiencing Déjà Vu all over again when summer rolls around. Only a few weeks after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted former President Donald Trump over alleged hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, Fulton County, Georgia might be ready to follow suit.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said Monday that she will announce potential criminal indictments related to alleged interference in Georgia’s 2020 election between July 11 and Sept. 1, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In letters to local law enforcement, Willis asked them to be prepared for heightened security and potential public reactions. While she did not mention former President Donald Trump by name, legal experts believe that her letter suggests she is considering charges against Trump and his allies.
This comes amid supposed concerns of potential violent unrest similar to the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Law enforcement in Atlanta has previously increased security during the investigation. Willis herself has a security detail and has equipped some team members with bulletproof vests and panic buttons.
“Please accept this correspondence as notice to allow you sufficient time to prepare the Sheriff’s Office and coordinate with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure that our law enforcement community is ready to protect the public,” Willis wrote in a letter to Fulton Sheriff Patrick Labat.
Other letters were sent to Atlanta Chief of police Darin Schierbaum and Matthew Kallmyer, director of the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency Management Agency.
In the letter, Willis said, “We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of those we are sworn to protect. As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to prepare.”
Some have taken this as a signal that Willis intends to seek a prosecution of Trump.
“It’s hard to imagine how Willis would announce that she will be filing charges without including Donald Trump,” said Norm Eisen, who previously served as ethics czar under President Barack Obama. “While she does not have the former president’s name in her letter, the evidence and the applicable law in Georgia point to the substantial likelihood that Donald Trump and his principal co-conspirators will be included when she follows through on the plans she confirms in this letter.”
The investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office into former President Donald Trump’s conduct following the 2020 election, which began in February 2021, has grown in size and scope over the past two years. It has resulted in the creation of a special purpose grand jury, which interviewed 75 witnesses in 2022 and completed a report in January. It is not explicitly mentioned who these witnesses or allies may be, as the details of the investigation and the identities of the individuals involved may not be fully disclosed in the available information.
The report, which was partially made public in February, rebuked Trump’s claims of widespread fraud in the Georgia election and recommended that the district attorney seek indictments for perjury based on compelling evidence.
The investigation by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office appears to be targeting not only former President Donald Trump, but also dozens of his allies. The report recommended that the district attorney seek “appropriate indictments” for crimes where the “evidence is compelling.”
Politically, an indictment against Trump and his allies could further intensify the already polarized political climate in the United States. Trump has a significant base of supporters who are fiercely loyal to him, and any legal action against him could be viewed as politically motivated, leading to protests, rallies, and increased division among the American public. Indeed, Bragg’s indictment is clearly motivated by a desire to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.
A potential indictment could also impact the Republican Party, as Trump remains a prominent figure within the GOP and has significant influence over its base. An indictment could further fracture the Republican Party, with some members continuing to support Trump and others distancing themselves to protect their own political interests.
Regardless of what happens this summer, it is clear that the former president is in for yet another legal battle. Facing two indictments could hamper his ability to secure the GOP nomination, especially if Fulton County’s case against him is stronger than that of Bragg’s, which is quite shaky. Either way, we are in for some tumultuous times this summer.
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