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‘Fitting’ that Fulton County may be first county in the nation to hold Trump accountable, professor says

Georgia prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s phone call to Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger in which Trump asked him to “find” the votes he needed to overturn the state’s election results. Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis last week revealed her office is investigating whether illegal attempts were made to influence the state’s 2020 elections. 

“Given that nullifying Black votes in urban areas was a major part of Mr. Trump’s campaign to overturn the 2020 election, it is fitting that Fulton County, with its large Black population and a Black woman District Attorney, Fani Willis, might be the first county in the nation to hold the former president accountable for his actions to destroy our democracy,” said Northwestern University political scientist Alvin Tillery.

In addition to Tillery, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law professors Michael Kang and Juliet Sorensen are available to comment. 

Michael Kang is the William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professor of Law. His areas of expertise include election law, voting rights, redistricting and campaign finance. He can be reached at mkang@northwestern.edu

Juliet Sorensen is a clinical professor of law and executive director of Injustice Watch. From 2003-2010, Sorensen was an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago, focusing on fraud and public corruption. To arrange an interview, please contact Hilary Hurd Anyaso at h-anyaso@northwestern.edu.

Quote from Professor Sorensen
“Any criminal investigation into Trump’s effort to influence the outcome of the presidential election in Georgia has to carefully consider whether the evidence that Trump committed a crime satisfies every element of a possible chargeable offense beyond a reasonable doubt. 

“The recorded phone conversation reflects Trump’s goals, motive, intent and also arguably his desire to leverage his influence as President of the United States, so it will play a central role in the investigation and any charges that come out of it.”

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. is an associate professor of political science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy. His research and teaching interests are in the fields of American politics and political theory. His research focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics, and media and politics. He can be reached at alvin.tillery@northwestern.edu or by contacting Hilary Hurd Anyaso at h-anyaso@northwestern.edu.

Quote from Professor Tillery
“Mr. Trump’s attempt to subvert the outcome of the 2020 presidential election and remain in power is the worst crime against our democracy ever committed by a sitting U.S. president. As Leader McConnell pointed to in his speech on the floor of the Senate after the Republican caucus voted to acquit Mr. Trump, the former president remains liable for all of the crimes that he committed before the transfer of power to President Biden. The taped phone call between Mr. Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Raffensberger, in which the disgraced former president asked Mr. Raffensberger to ‘find him’ enough votes to overturn the election, is the first place where Mr. Trump seems to have serious legal exposure. 

“Given that nullifying Black votes in urban areas was a major part of Mr. Trump’s campaign to overturn the 2020 election, it is fitting that Fulton County, with its large Black population and a Black woman District Attorney, Fani Willis, might be the first county in the nation to hold the former president accountable for his actions to destroy our democracy.”