Fani Willis claps back against racist attacks by Trump supporters

TheGrio learns that as the Fulton County district attorney fires back at Republicans, Democrats in Congress are pushing legislation to protect Willis' case in Georgia.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Democrats are fighting back as political and racist attacks continue to be lodged as she seeks to prosecute former President Donald Trump and his “criminal enterprise.”

In a new court filing Thursday in Atlanta, Willis disclosed that personal information about her, her family, and her staff was posted online “intertwined with derogatory and racist remarks.”

fani willis georgia,
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in a court filing Thursday that personal information about her, her family and her staff was posted online along with racist remarks. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The disclosure, filed in a motion to protect the identity of the jurors in the case, highlights the ongoing threats against Willis, whose national profile has risen since handing down a 41-count criminal indictment against Trump and 18 co-defendants. 

Willis’ filing came after weeks of political attacks from Trump and Republican lawmakers in Congress and the Georgia state legislature, ranging from threats of impeaching the district attorney to having her office defunded.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, launched an inquiry into Willis two weeks ago, demanding that her office turn over documents to Congress in pursuit of evidence that federal funds or resources were improperly used in her state criminal investigation. 

On Thursday, Willis dismissed Jordan, accusing him of playing politics and using his federal powers to “obstruct a Georgia criminal proceeding” in which he does not have “lawful jurisdiction.”

“Your letter makes clear that you lack a basic understanding of the law, its practice, and the ethical obligations of attorneys generally and prosecutors specifically,” wrote Willis.

Democrats on the state and federal level tell theGrio Republicans are trafficking in hypocrisy in their efforts to undermine Willis.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, began an inquiry into Fulton County DA Fani Willis. As he and other Republicans continue to question her case against former President Donald Trump, other Trump supporters are posting personal information about her. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Do the Republicans believe in law and order, as they have repeatedly said over and over again, or do they believe in law and order when it pertains to cases they like?” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.

Jackson Lee, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, told theGrio she and Democrats are  “pushing legislation” that would “place scrutiny” on Republicans for potentially violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in their efforts to “interfere” with Willis’ case as she pursues justice on behalf the majority Black and brown voters in Fulton County.

“Voters of Fulton County are not being protected by this investigation,” said the longtime congresswoman. “All necessary protocols and protections need to be taken so that District Attorney Willis can do her job and protect her family.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said she and other Democrats are “pushing legislation” that would “place scrutiny” on Republicans for potentially violating Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act in their efforts to “interfere” with Fani Willis’ case against former President Donald Trump. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Getty Images, pool)

There were also calls for Willis to be impeached by a minority of Republican state lawmakers in Georgia. State Sen. Clint Dixon threatened to use a newly formed state commission with the power to remove her from office. Similarly, state Sen. Colton Moore announced an ultimately unsuccessful crusade to bring forth an “emergency” legislative session to probe Willis, who on Thursday he accused of leading a case of “corruption.”

Despite maneuvering by her Republican colleagues, Democratic state Rep. Dar’Shun Kendrick said it “remains to be seen” whether there is enough support in the state legislature to use the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission to punish Willis.

“I would like to say that there are some more level-headed Republican friends of mine who are going to stay out of this and let justice run its course,” Kendrick told theGrio.

However, the Democratic lawmaker said it’s “ironic” that Republicans claimed they were creating the commission to penalize Democratic DAs in Georgia who refused to prosecute certain cases.

“Now they want to try to use it for somebody who’s actually prosecuting,” said Kendrick. “I really do call on Republicans to have that sense of consistency, particularly if you’re going to claim to be the party of law and order.”

Former President Donald Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, was indicted in Georgia, spurring his supporters to target Fulton County DA Fani Willis. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Kendra Cotton, CEO of New Georgia Project Action Fund, said that while she does anticipate Trump will continue to attack Willis and her investigation, she doesn’t suspect “much escalation from Republicans writ large here in Georgia,” largely because Gov. Brian Kemp publicly slammed suggestions of impeachment. She explained, “He is a sitting governor who is quite popular in our state.” 

Cotton told theGrio she doesn’t understand the targeting of Willis because a jury decided the indictment lawfully. “It is the grand jury who decided that there was enough evidence to recommend this being carried over to trial,” she said. “If we say that justice is balanced here in these United States, then he shouldn’t have a problem – if he didn’t do anything wrong.”

She also lamented: “There are folks who it doesn’t matter what Trump did or didn’t do – they’re going to ride it out with the man.”

Kendrick said she doesn’t foresee the vitriol against Willis and her high-profile case ending anytime soon. 

“It seems like every week we hear that another federal defendant has been sentenced because of the Jan. 6 insurrection,” she observed. “They’re going to be fueled by anything, but definitely don’t think it’s going to subside.”

Gerren Keith Gaynor

Gerren Keith Gaynor is a White House Correspondent and the Managing Editor of Politics at theGrio. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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