WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES — The US city of Atlanta was under heightened security Monday as prosecutors wrapped a sweeping probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election that is expected to result in criminal charges for Donald Trump within days.
Officials in Georgia’s state capital have been investigating the former president since 2021, empanelling a special grand jury that recommended charges for more than a dozen people whose identities have remained secret.
Atlanta-area District Attorney Fani Willis has hinted strongly that she will seek an indictment between Monday and the end of August, and is reportedly pursuing election fraud conspiracy and solicitation charges against Trump, who is seeking reelection.
“The work is accomplished. We’ve been working for two-and-a-half years. We’re ready to go,” Willis told Atlanta’s 11Alive news on Saturday.
The probe was sparked by Trump’s 2 January 2021 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, when he infamously pressured election officials to “find” the 11,780 votes that would reverse his defeat to Joe Biden in the state.
Investigators have been pursuing several prongs however of what they have described as a “multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump campaign” to influence the results of the election.
Legal analysts have speculated that Willis may be seeking to fold the accusations into a wider case under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which would allow her to charge numerous people in a broad pot.
Prosecutors have said in court filings they believe Trump’s team worked with local Republicans on a plan in Georgia and six other swing states to send fraudulent certificates to the US Senate reversing Biden’s victories.
Trump has already been indicted this year over financial fraud and mishandling classified documents in separate felony cases in New York and southern Florida.
While there was little unrest around those hearings, authorities in Atlanta installed security barricades last week outside the downtown courthouse where the investigation has been taking place.
“I think that the sheriff is doing something smart in making sure that the courthouse stays safe,” Willis said. “I’m not willing to put any of the employees or the constituents that come to the courthouse in harm’s way.”
She has indicated in letters to local law enforcement that charging announcements would most likely come in the three weeks from Monday and has laid out a variety of security provisions her team would be taking — including working from home.
Willis said Saturday people may not be happy with her upcoming announcements and “sometimes when people are unhappy, they act in a way that could create harm.”
A local judge on Monday rejected Trump’s bid to have Willis removed from the case and to quash the special grand jury’s report, although a separate effort will be heard by another judge on 10 August.