Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis is drawing scrutiny over her past posts on social media that legal analyst Dan Abrams contends “overtly politicized” her case against former President Donald Trump.
In a News Nation opinion article published Wednesday, Abrams highlights claims laid out in an ultimately rejected petition Trump’s legal team filed last month in an effort to block Willis from prosecuting the case. As the petition noted, on July 18, 2022, Willis’s campaign Twitter account posted a political cartoon amid the investigation, which the Trump legal team argued contributed to the “appearance of impropriety.”
Fani Willis was posting biased political cartoons in the middle of her "investigation." This is a partisan attack on the Republican frontrunner. pic.twitter.com/elMVWC8gcI
— MAGA War Room (@MAGAIncWarRoom) August 15, 2023
The cartoon depicts Willis in a boat as she fishes in a swamp. On the end of her line is a fish that Trump’s team said depicted Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The fish states, “Fishing Expedition,” which is what Graham said after Willis’s office sent him a subpoena weeks earlier. Adjacent to Graham is another fish resembling Trump, which says, “I know you’ll do the right thing for the swamp, Lindsey.”
Trump’s lawyers contended:
Posting a political cartoon depicting the influencing of witnesses in an “investigation of this significance, garnering the public attention it necessarily does and touching so many political nerves in our society,” does not create the appearance of an unbiased and “apolitical” investigation.
What is more, the filing contended that she “promoted her own campaign on the shoulders of partisan support for this [Special Grand Jury] investigation.” It detailed:
Within a couple of days, the FCDA’s Twitter account increased by approximately one-hundred thousand followers, and requests for campaign donations were retweeted thousands of times. On at least three occasions, the FCDA personally inserted herself into this Twitter campaign for “followers, tweets and donations” which specifically referenced this investigation; it is that personal involvement and interest which creates the disqualifying conflict. The FCDA’s posts do not further a legitimate law enforcement purpose but instead portray a biased prosecutor with a personal interest.
Abrams, the founder of Abrams Media, argued in an opinion article Wednesday that if the political affiliations were reversed, the mainstream media would have been outraged.
“Can you imagine if that was a Republican prosecutor seemingly exploiting the subpoena of a progressive liberal Democrat to solicit campaign donations?” He wondered. “There would be no end to the mainstream media’s hysteria.”
On a related note, Willis sent a timely announcement to supporters – days before the indictment came down – that she launched her campaign fundraising website, as Atlanta First News reported. Notably, this occurred just over a month after the grand jury was sworn in and less than two weeks after she told 11 Alive on July 29 to expect a decision as to whether to indict Trump by September 1.
While Fulton Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled against the 650-page petition, Trump’s legal team said on August 3 that it would take the claims to an appeals court.
Although McBurney ruled against Trump’s petition, he previously halted Willis from investigating then-State Sen. Burt Jones (R-GA), who was alleged as a “fake elector,” after she held a fundraiser for his Democrat opponent in the lieutenant governor’s race, Charlie Bailey. The June 2022 fundraiser came a month before she sent a target letter to Jones and marked a conflict of interest in McBurney’s view.
He scolded Willis, stating that the “scenario creates a plain — and actual and untenable — conflict.”
“Any decision the District Attorney makes about Senator Jones in connection with the grand jury investigation is necessarily infected by it,” he added. A week before the decision, he dubbed it a “What were you thinking? moment” adding the “optics are horrific.”