The Atlanta-area prosecutor who is weighing whether to bring election-related criminal charges against former president Donald Trump is seeking FBI help in securing a county courthouse and government center in the wake of “alarming” rhetoric from Trump at a rally this weekend.
“Security concerns were escalated this weekend by the rhetoric of former President Trump at a public event in Conroe, Texas that was broadcast and covered by national media outlets and shared widely on social media,” Willis said in her letter to J.C. Hacker, the special agent in charge of the Atlanta field office of the FBI. “His statements were undoubtedly watched by millions.”
In the letter, Willis asked that Hacker immediately conduct a risk assessment of the Fulton County Courthouse and Government Center and provide “protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents.”
“We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Willis said.
She noted that several other buildings are located in proximity to the courthouse, including the Georgia Capitol, Atlanta City Hall and dormitories at Georgia State University.
Willis asked that resources be in place “well in advance” of May 2. That is the day a special purpose grand jury is set to convene to hear evidence in Willis’s criminal probe involving Trump and his associates.
The probe is focused on whether Trump and others tried to improperly influence the presidential election results in Georgia. Part of the investigation centers on a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) in which Trump asked Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s win in the state.
At Saturday’s rally in Texas, Trump raised the prospect of massive protests in cities where he is being investigated.
“If these radical, vicious, racist prosecutors do anything wrong or illegal, I hope we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt,” Trump said.
Trump claimed he is the victim of “prosecutorial misconduct” by “vicious, horrible people” whom he called “racist” and “mentally sick.”
He offered no explanation of why he considers Willis, who is Black, or other prosecutors to be racist.
Several other prosecutors and lawmakers who are investigating Trump are also Black, including Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr., New York Attorney General Letitia James and Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House select committee examining the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
“My staff and I will not be influenced or intimidated by anyone as this investigation moves forward,” Willis said in her letter to Hacker.
Tim Craig contributed to this report.