Trump hits out at Georgia district attorney as fourth indictment looms

Former US president could soon face charges in state of Georgia over his efforts to overturn 2020 election results.

Former President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump has denied any wrongdoing, accusing officials of seeking to derail his 2024 re-election campaign [File: Butch Dill/AP Photo]

Donald Trump has ramped up attacks against a district attorney in the US state of Georgia, where the former United States president could soon face charges linked to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Trump took to his Truth Social platform on Monday, accusing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of seeking to interfere with his 2024 re-election campaign and trying to indict him on “ridiculous grounds”.

Willis has spent more than two years investigating efforts by the former president and his allies to overturn the 2020 results in Georgia, including a January 2021 call in which Trump urged the state’s top election official to “find” enough votes to deliver him a victory.

“No, I didn’t tamper with the election!” Trump wrote in an all-caps post on Truth Social on Monday morning, continuing to falsely claim that the election he lost to President Joe Biden was marred by widespread fraud.

“Those who rigged & stole the election were the ones doing the tampering, & they are the slime that should be prosecuted. I made a perfect phone call of protest. Why wasn’t this fake case brought 2.5 years ago? Election interference!” he said.

Prosecutors in Atlanta have begun presenting their case to a grand jury, which heard the testimonies of two former Democratic state lawmakers – Senator Jen Jordan and Representative Bee Nguyen – on Monday.

Jordan, who had been subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury, said as she left the Fulton County courthouse late on Monday morning that she had been questioned for about 40 minutes. Nguyen also later said she had testified.

Willis had already indicated she would seek charges this month, and security measures have increased around the county courthouse in recent weeks.

If Trump is charged in Georgia, it would mark his fourth criminal indictment since March and his second on charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

The former Republican president pleaded not guilty in a Washington, DC, courtroom in early August to four federal charges linked to election interference allegations, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.

US prosecutors have tied Trump to the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters sought to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s election victory.

Trump also faces state charges in New York over a hush-money payment to an adult film star and federal charges linked to accusations he mishandled classified government documents at his Florida estate.

Yet as his legal troubles have mounted in the past few months, his support among Republican Party voters remains strong, according to recent polling.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released in late July showed Trump with 54 percent support among likely GOP primary voters, compared with 17 percent for his closest challenger, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

Still, some legal experts said the Georgia case could be one of the most potent against Trump.

“I think people are going to be surprised at the level of preparedness and the level of sophistication of the prosecution,” said Clint Rucker, who was a prosecutor in Fulton County for more than 25 years before leaving in 2021. “That office is not some small backwoods country hick organisation that fumbles the ball and doesn’t know how to do its job.”

Willis is expected to charge multiple people, possibly by using the state’s broad racketeering statute. Her investigation began soon after Trump made a phone call to the state’s top election official, Republican Brad Raffensperger, and urged him to “find” enough votes to alter the outcome.

In addition to efforts to pressure Georgia officials, Willis has examined a breach of election machines in a rural county and a plot to use fake electors in a bid to capture the state’s electoral votes for Trump rather than Biden.

Geoff Duncan, the state’s former lieutenant governor, told CNN that he had been asked to testify on Tuesday.

“I’ll certainly answer whatever questions are put in front of me,” said Duncan, a Republican who has criticised Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election.

An independent journalist, George Chidi, also said in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that he had also been instructed to appear on Tuesday.

Chidi has written about happening upon a secret meeting of the alleged fake electors at the state capitol in December 2020.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies