Mark your calendars for July 11 through Sept. 1. That’s when Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could announce charges against Donald Trump and/or others in her 2020 election interference probe, according to a letter she wrote to local law enforcement on Monday. The letter warned of a need for “heightened security and preparedness” ahead of her announcement that “may provoke a significant public reaction.”
Willis didn’t give specifics of who’s getting charged or for what, but the letter provides a clearer indication, straight from the Georgia prosecutor herself, about when she’ll announce charges. The world has been waiting for such an indication after Willis’ statement in late January that decisions from her office were “imminent.”
Of course, we’re not completely in the dark about the pace or direction of Willis’ probe. When we checked in last week, she was still working on the so-called fake electors in the state who tried to push Trump into office despite his having lost the election. Remember, she’s trying to get a lawyer kicked off the matter who’s been representing several of the Trump fake electors, but, according to Willis, some of them have implicated another in criminal activity. Therefore, the prosecutor said, it’s a conflict for the defense lawyer to represent clients who could turn on one another.
As for the potential danger in connection with announcing charges, Willis wrote in her letter, first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of our community.” She didn’t mention the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection that effectively was the culmination of Trump’s election interference scheme — but it comes to mind.
And while her letter technically serves as notice to law enforcement to prepare for the possibility of violence when she announces charges this summer, it also serves as notice for observers who’ve been wondering what “imminent” means. So we have a better idea now of the “when,” though we don’t know the full extent of who’ll be charged or for what.
But it won’t be surprising if the former president — whose supporters could surely react violently to criminal charges against their leader — is on her list.