Fani Willis says she’s been ‘attacked and over-sexualized’

Fulton DA supports Black women in church speech
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s annual planning meeting at Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta on Thursday, June 13, 2024.   (Ben Gray / Ben@BenGray.com)

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s annual planning meeting at Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta on Thursday, June 13, 2024.   (Ben Gray / Ben@BenGray.com)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday defended Black women, saying they are often the victims of violence and are the most unprotected members of society.

Speaking to a congregation at Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta, Willis cited her own experience of being “attacked and over-sexualized” as a Black woman doing her job. The prosecutor also condemned the media for failing to address the persistent violence.

“That same media will jump at the morsel of a chance to tear a sister down,” she said.

Willis has been at the center of a media firestorm since early this year, when her romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the outside lawyer she hired to lead the Donald Trump election subversion case, became the focus of an attempt to oust her. A judge said Willis could stay on the Trump case, but Wade must resign.

That decision is being considered by the Georgia Court of Appeals. On Wednesday, Willis’ office asked the court to dismiss the appeal.

Wade attended Willis’ speech Thursday sitting alone in a pew in the rear of the church. The night before, CNN aired an interview with Wade in which he denied responsibility for delaying the racketeering case, saying that defense attorneys used his relationship with Willis to cause distractions.

Nathan Wade sits in the back of the sanctuary as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis addressed the Sixth Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s annual planning meeting at Turner Chapel AME Church in Marietta on Thursday, June 13, 2024.   (Ben Gray / Ben@BenGray.com)

Credit: Ben Gray

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Credit: Ben Gray

While acknowledging that the relationship suffered from “bad timing,” Wade said he does not regret it and still considers Willis a close friend.

In her speech Thursday, Willis also spoke about elected political officials who she said have not adhered to the principles of justice. She condemned U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, although not by name, referring to the lawmaker as a “clown” who serves over a community riddled with poverty and crime but has done nothing to address it.

“He’s been sitting there for 17 years and passed zero laws,” she said.

Jordan, chair of the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, has for months led efforts to discredit Willis’ investigation into the prosecution of Trump and 14 remaining co-defendants.

Willis made no mention of the Trump case, the appeal or Wade during her speech on Thursday.

In attendance, was one of her staunchest supporters, Bishop Reginald Jackson, whom Willis said she considered a mentor and true friend. Jackson, a prominent leader of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, introduced Willis on Thursday and mentioned the establishment of the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission in Georgia.

The commission, which began operating in April, is doing nothing more than going after Black prosecutors, he said. In an op-ed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jackson also said that he was “offended” by the way defense lawyers treated Willis’s personal life.