Fulton County commissioners urge no defunding of DA Fani Willis

Credit: NYT

Credit: NYT

Democrats on the Fulton County Commission are formally asking state and federal authorities not to remove any funding from District Attorney Fani Willis’ office in retaliation for her criminal investigation of former President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday commissioners voted 4-2 for the resolution sponsored by Commissioner Dana Barrett. The opposing votes came from the commission’s Republican members, Bob Ellis and Bridget Thorne.

Barrett said state and federal funding to the DA’s office, largely in the form of grants, pays for things like victims’ rights programs unrelated to the Trump investigation; so stripping those allocations would either end those initiatives or force Fulton County to fund them.

She framed her resolution as an effort to safeguard local taxpayers and support the criminal justice system.

Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman, questioning whether Barrett submitted the resolution for “political gain,” asked County Attorney Y. Soo Jo whether it would have any practical effect.

It would have no legal force to stop any efforts toward defunding Willis’ office, Jo said.

Thorne denounced the commission’s consideration of “highly partisan resolutions,” saying Republicans sought to investigate what the months-long Trump investigation cost.

“It would be good if we could find out how much of our tax money is being spent on this trial,” she said.

Last month Willis indicted Trump and 18 associates on dozens of charges related to attempts to overturn 2020 presidential election results, including Trump’s recorded call asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” – enough to reverse Trump’s loss in Georgia. Trump and all of his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Trump’s Aug. 14 indictment led state Sen. Colton Moore, R-Trenton, to send Gov. Brian Kemp a letter three days later asking for an emergency legislative session on Willis: possibly to impeach her or strip her office of state funding.

Kemp and state House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, have rejected those proposals.