On Wednesday, the sheriff of Fulton County, Georgia, made it clear that former President Donald J. Trump would be treated no differently than any other defendant if he were to be prosecuted in connection with attempts to overturn the 2020 election in the state.
Fani T. Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, has hinted that she may file charges in the case before the month’s midpoint.
The possibility that a former president would be booked into the county prison in the Atlanta metropolitan area was raised by Sheriff Labat’s comments. If Mr. Trump were to be indicted, it is unclear if the Secret Service would intervene to change the sheriff’s preparations.
Authorities in New York did not take Mr. Trump’s mug photo when he was detained earlier this year on charges linked to what prosecutors dubbed a hush-money conspiracy to cover up a possible sex scandal. Trump’s campaign team created a false booking photo, had T-shirts made with it, and sold them for $36.
At a press conference held in the afternoon, Sheriff Labat addressed the situation at the Fulton County Courthouse, which has been cordoned off with orange security barriers throughout the last week. He said that he and other law enforcement agencies had been planning for months to deal with any unrest that may arise in Atlanta as a result of the massive state investigation into electoral tampering by Mr. Trump and his friends.
Mr. Labat claims that he, the district attorney, and the local courts have received “dozens” of threats over the last several months. A few months ago, he added, the authorities detained one individual in connection with a threat investigation, and they’re still looking into additional threats.
Two grand juries are currently meeting in secret at the courthouse, and a new batch of subpoenas has been issued to witnesses in the election interference investigation, with many employees of the prosecutor’s office being told to work from home out of an abundance of caution.
New subpoenas provide clues as to what areas of the case prosecutors would wish to emphasise before the grand jury.
Former state senator Jen Jordan, a Democrat who sat on the panel that heard testimony from Mr. Trump’s ex-lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani in December 2020, is one of the mandated witnesses. Mr. Giuliani presented several unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in that talk. On Tuesday, Ms. Jordan verified that she, indeed, had been served with a subpoena.
Legal experts have speculated that Mr. Giuliani may be charged with making false statements to state authorities and with breaches of the state’s racketeering statutes after prosecutors informed him last year that he was one of around 20 targets of their investigation. His legal team has defended his actions, Mayor Giuliani.
George Chidi, an Atlanta-area journalist, was also served with a subpoena after he uncovered a meeting at the State Capitol on December 14, 2020, with 16 Republicans who attempted to cast fraudulent Electoral College votes for Mr. Trump. This was despite the fact that his loss in Georgia had already been recertified. Mr. Chidi claims that someone at the meeting misled him into thinking that the topic of discussion was “education,” and that he was thereafter dismissed.
More than half of the 16 Republicans who were targeted had secured immunity agreements by May. Prosecutors, should they decide to pursue racketeering charges, would likely present their encounter as part of an alleged corrupt conspiracy before a grand jury.
Mr. Chidi expressed worry in an interview that prosecutors were making it “a habit” to subpoena reporters. He said in his essay for The Intercept that he was likely to testify after receiving guarantees that he would be asked only questions directly related to what he saw.
Mr. Trump’s legal team and the state’s Republican Party have been fighting back against the probe more forcefully as charges have appeared more likely in recent weeks. The fake Trump electors have been compared by a state party website to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.
The state supreme court unanimously turned down a last-ditch effort by Trump’s legal team to halt the inquiry before charges were even handed down last month. And on Monday, Superior Court Presiding Judge Robert C.I. McBurney implied that Mr. Trump’s attorneys were clogging up the legal process with frivolous files, and he urged them to adhere to professional standards rather than weighing down other courts with frivolous and unsubstantiated legal filings.