ATLANTA — Former President Donald Trump is working to discredit the local district attorney investigating election interference here in Georgia.
The false allegations Trump made against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis come just days before she is expected to announce possible indictments against Trump and his allies.
Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with a local gang prosecutor about the baseless claims and why he says Willis is an upstanding person.
Lawyer Gabe Banks said he’s known Willis for 15 years not only as a friend but professionally as well as a prosecutor.
“Look, I might find myself on the other side of an indictment in her office and I may very well disagree with her staff that we might battle out in court, but this is what I know to be true and clear, and that is she walks with integrity and she’s professional,” Banks said.
He told Winne that if Trump is referring to her in new comments he made during a rally in New Hampshire on Tuesday, then those claims are baseless.
“They say there’s a young woman -- a young racist -- in Atlanta. Racist. And they say, I guess, she was after a certain gang, and she ended up having an affair with the head of the gang or a gang member. And this is a person that wants to indict me,” Trump said.
“I’ve known Fani for 15-plus years. I can tell you that there’s no merit to any assertion that she’s had any relationship other than a professional relationship as a lawyer with some alleged gang member,” Banks said.
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Banks said he and Willis were prosecutors together for years and now he’s a defense lawyer opposing her office in a couple of high-profile gang cases where he maintains his clients are innocent.
But being on the other side isn’t enough for him to question Willis’s integrity.
“Her prosecutorial record speaks for itself. It speaks volumes in this community, and it sounds like to me, you know, what they say, a hit dog will holler,” Banks said.
Winne also obtained a copy of an email dated Wednesday that we’re told was directed to her entire staff from Willis.
“It is my understanding that an ad was put in the Atlanta market to run between today 8/9 and 8/13 that will have derogatory and false information about me as the District Attorney of the Atlanta Judicial Circuit. Each of you represents me. Especially, ADA’s who all took an oath under my name. We often remind you if you are an ADA you are my personal staff and represent me. Many of you are quite kind to me, very protective, and will become very defensive if someone attempts to attack me, the office, or your colleagues. You may not comment in any way on the ad or any of the negativity that may be expressed against me, your colleagues, or this office in the coming days, weeks, or months. We have no personal feelings against those we investigate or prosecute and we should not express any. This is business. The comment does not concern me at all. It’s ridiculous in nature but I support his right to be protected by the First Amendment will never be personal. We have a job to do. In this office, we prosecute based on the facts and the law. The law is non-partisan. You should feel no need to defend me.”
Months ago, Trump made another comment suggesting there was a racist Democrat district attorney in Atlanta.
“The comment does not concern me at all. It’s ridiculous in nature, but I support his right to be protected by the First Amendment,” Willis said at the time.
Sources confirm to Channel 2 Action News that Willis could present her case to a grand jury as early as next week.
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