On Monday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis refused to comment on how a draft of the indictment against former President Donald Trump and 18 others had been leaked.
Earlier that day, Reuters had discovered a document uploaded to the Fulton County Court website which indicated an “open” case against Trump for charges that were later confirmed in the official indictment.
The document even included a case number and judge’s name before it was deleted and described as “fictitious” by the court. It remains unknown how this information was leaked prior to the grand jury’s decision.
At a press conference after the grand jury handed down the indictment, Willis was asked about the leak. However, she refused to provide any additional information or clarification on the matter, instead appearing to deny its existence.
“I can’t tell you anything about what you refer to,” Willis said.
“What I can tell you is that we had a grand jury here in Fulton County. They deliberated until almost 8:00 [p.m] if not right after 8:00 [p.m]. An indictment was returned, and we now have an indictment. I am not an expert on clerks’ duties or even administrative duties. And so I’m not going to speculate,” the DA added. “Next question!”
The problem for Willis is that Trump’s attorneys will use the incident as ammunition that their client was not afforded a fair process.
“The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has once again shown that they have no respect for the integrity of the grand jury process,” attorneys Drew Findling and Jennifer Little said in a statement Monday afternoon.
“This was not a simple administrative mistake,” the statement continued. “A proposed indictment should only be in the hands of the District Attorney’s Office, yet it somehow made its way to the clerk’s office and was assigned a case number and a judge before the grand jury even deliberated. This is emblematic of the pervasive and glaring constitutional violations which have plagued this case from its very inception.”
Following the release of the indictment, Trump’s legal team characterized the events as “shocking and absurd” and referred to the leakage of information as a “major fumble,” citing it as evidence that Willis had taken an imprudent approach in moving forward with the indictment.