Georgia’s Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who’s conducting a wide-ranging criminal investigation into pro-Trump meddling with the outcome of the 2020 election, told The Washington Post this week she expects the possibility of prison time if those whose conduct is getting revealed in her investigation end up put on trial and convicted.
Willis hasn’t finalized any decisions about bringing charges. At present, the investigation is in an information-gathering stage involving testimony from numerous witnesses before a special grand jury working on the probe, and Willis estimated to the Post that she has already heard from about 65 percent of the prospective witnesses list. So far, Rudy Giuliani and individuals who signed on as Trump electors from Georgia despite Biden’s win in the state were informed they are targets of the Willis investigation, meaning criminal charges are possible — and although she didn’t go into detail about any specific target, Willis explains some of the charges under consideration are serious to the point of potential stints in jail if guilty. Once the special grand jury finishes hearing from witnesses, it will prepare a report summarizing its recommendations regarding criminal charges, at which point the district attorney will decide next steps.
“The allegations are very serious. If indicted and convicted, people are facing prison sentences,” Willis said to the Post. The conduct on which the investigation is focusing is expansive — but could be drawn together by potential racketeering charges. (Racketeering is a form of criminal conspiracy.) Other offenses that could be the subject of charges include false statements to Georgia officials and solicitation to commit election fraud, the latter of which could cover actions like Trump’s infamous post-2020 election call to Brad Raffensperger. Willis’s investigation is also looking into a breach of the local elections system in Coffee County, where elections-related data was surreptitiously copied by Trump allies amid attempts to find evidence of non-existent election fraud, and harassment of Ruby Freeman, a 2020 elections worker who became a subject of completely baseless conspiracy theories that she was involved in imaginary misconduct. Willis added to the Post that additional names will get added to the list of targets in the near future.
Besides the possibility of criminal charges against Trump, Willis could also pursue his testimony, although she is quickly approaching a period beginning October 7 when she says she will be putting public grand jury activity on pause to avoid even the appearance of impacting the upcoming elections with political purposes. “A decision is going to have to be made, and I imagine it’s going to be made late this fall,” Willis said of the possibility of bringing Trump in for testimony. “I’m pleased with where it is. I think we’re moving along at a really good speed,” Willis said of the probe, expressing confidence. “We are going to be done calling witnesses by the end of this year. Period.”