Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis Wins Georgia Democratic Primary

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis Defeats Lawyer and Author Christian Wise Smith in Georgia’s Democratic primary on Tuesday, the Associated Press projects. The 52-year-old prosecutor is fighting for another term as district attorney as her prosecution of former President Donald Trump and others in the state’s 2020 election interference case remains stalled in a Georgia appeals court.

“I plan to win and win big,” Willis predicted in an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday night. “I’m at a point where I need to get Fulton County voters out and voting.”

Willis will now face Republican rival Courtney Kramer in this fall’s general election. According to her LinkedIn profile, Kramer was an intern in the White House counsel’s office during the Trump administration and a litigation consultant for the Trump campaign in Georgia after the 2020 election.

Wise Smith previously challenged Willis in 2020, along with then-incumbent District Attorney Paul Howard.

“People are ready for a change,” Wise Smith told CBS News. “People are tired of the same old same old office. People want a breath of fresh air.”

Wise Smith, 41, called for Willis to resign on Monday. He pointed out a couple of GOP-led congressional investigations investigating the district attorney’s office’s use of federal funds.

Last week, Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson sent a letter to Willis requesting information about several Justice Department grants and alleged that “the Fulton County Attorney may have misappropriated funds from these grants to fund unrelated travel or the purchase of computers and ‘loot’.

“It’s a very serious job where people trust you to do the right thing and there are continuing accusations of misusing those funds to do it. It’s time to go,” Wise Smith said.

The House Judiciary Committee is also conducting an investigation into the district attorney’s funding and has threatened to hold Willis in contempt of Congress. This month, Chairman Jim Jordan also asked former special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who was romantically involved with Willis, to testify before the panel.

Willis has denied any wrongdoing.

“Jim Jordan has time and time again attacked my office for no legitimate purpose,” Willis said. “Now he has used his tricks to investigate grant programs, which I encourage him to do, and we have complied with subpoenas from him, but still he continues to attack him to try to interfere in a criminal investigation.” “.

A state Senate committee in Georgia also opened an investigation into Willis’ office and has indicated it is prepared to subpoena her. Willis said the investigation “is not legitimate.”

“And then it will fail and go nowhere,” he said.

WIllis launched the election subversion investigation into former President Trump’s efforts to annul the 2020 elections in Georgia shortly after winning his first term. Last summer, he announced a broad accusation of extortion against the former president and 18 co-defendants. Four defendants have pleaded guilty.

At the beginning of this year, the district attorney revealed a romantic relationship with former special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who oversaw the case. Wade resigned in March after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee issued an order. ruling rejecting efforts to disqualify Willis if Wade stepped aside. McAfee himself won reelection Tuesday in a nonpartisan race, AP projects, defeating civil rights attorney and media commentator Robert Patillo.

Georgia State Court of Appeals Agrees to Hear Appeal by former President Trump and several of the co-defendants in Willis’ position, which could stall a potential trial beyond the November election.

With campaign signs scattered throughout parts of Fulton County, Willis does not mention the Trump case in his ads.

“I stood up to gangs and violent criminals,” Willis says in a television ad airing in metro Atlanta. “We have seen the third largest drop in crime in the United States.”

Willis, who is the first woman to lead the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office, highlights her experience in the community, including establishing a pre-charge diversion program to offer second chances to offenders, initiatives targeting youth in risk and greater transparency with the law. application.

Wise Smith founded the nonprofit National Alliance for Social Justice to combat police brutality and says his goal, if elected, is to end mass incarceration and “dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.” . If he is elected, on day one he said he hopes to establish a mentoring and internship program at the school. Wise Smith also wants to divert non-violent marijuana and THC cases, expunge old non-violent convictions and focus more on victim-centered crimes.

“Right now there’s a lot of time wasted in prosecuting marijuana, wasted in prosecuting crimes that had a mental disability or substance addiction or homelessness as the basis or rationale,” Wise Smith explained. “If we partner people with resource providers who can help them change their lives, then I will have more lawyers, more investigators, more money and more time to attack the rapes, the robberies, the murders and the crimes that really impact our safety. “.

Wise Smith was the only candidate to appear at an Atlanta Press Club debate last month where he addressed an empty podium. Willis did not attend.

Wise Smith told CBS News that he would “respect the voters’ decision no matter what direction it goes” in the primary, but stopped short of saying whether he would back Willis if she advances.

Willis hopes to prevail despite the current challenges.

“I’m not going to go bankrupt and I’ll still be here doing my job legally,” Willis said.