Incoming district attorney says she fears records are being destroyed by current DA’s office

Incoming district attorney says she fears records are being destroyed by current DA’s office

ATLANTA — The incoming Fulton County District Attorney says she’s concerned that official records in the district attorney’s office will be destroyed before she takes over in January.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher obtained an email giving directions to lawyers about using so-called burn boxes.

Incumbent DA Paul Howard does not dispute the existence, or the content of an email dated eight days after Howard lost to Fani Willis in last month’s runoff.

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Willis expressed some concerns about securing office records immediately after the runoff, and she has not changed her mind.

“Are you satisfied that there is record integrity, that things are not being destroyed?” Belcher asked Willis.

“No, actually. Since the time you and I had that conversation, an email was brought to my attention that they were asking for people to bring things down to records to put them in burn boxes,” Willis said.

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Willis said she is convinced of the authenticity of two emails which she says were provided by several current employees of the DA’s office.

The emails are dated Aug. 19, some eight days after she defeated Howard.

It was sent by Tiffany Rogers to all district attorneys. The subject is clearly listed as “destruction — burn boxes.”

The body of the email contains instructions of labeling and sealing the boxes.

Willis and another source familiar with the email make the point that state law is clear about official records.

“There is a very, very strict, state statute and a law of how records and state documents can be destroyed, so that caused me grave concern,” Willis said. “It’s unclear to me what they were bringing down, but it’s also unclear to me why things would be done in that manner when we are under such strict guidelines as the DA. So no, my concerns have not been quelled.”

“And your message to those people who might destroy records?” Belcher asked Willis.

“They should not. That’s a crime,” Willis said.

Belcher asked Howard’s office about Willis' accusation and the email, but he addressed neither in a statement.

“My priority is to make sure that when the term of the new district attorney takes place, this office continues its ability to keep the citizens of Fulton County safe,” the statement said, in part.

Fani Willis says she’s ready to take on role as Fulton County District Attorney