Former President Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign attacked Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ “Black Panther” family on Monday after Trump was charged with 13 felonies over his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Soon after the charges were made public, the Trump campaign sent out a lengthy email titled “The Truth About Fani Willis,” which alleged the prosecutor was “a Democrat activist” and that she came from a family “steeped in hate.”
Under the subheadings, “A Family Steeped In Hate” and “Fani Willis Is The Daughter Of A Former Black Panther,” the Trump campaign quoted a 2021 TIME magazine article that revealed Willis’ father was a Black Panther:
The daughter of a former Black Panther who recently retired as a criminal defense lawyer, the Inglewood, Calif.-born Willis would go along when her father went to court on Saturday mornings. The judge who oversaw the Saturday courtroom, an older white man, was, according to Willis, known to be mean. But each week, he had Willis, too young to stay home alone or to hear the details her father needed to discuss with clients, sit next to him on the elevated dais, the two whispering back and forth. One day, Willis’ father asked her what on earth they talked about.
The campaign went on to quote another paragraph from the Fulton County website, which read:
Fani has a seemingly proud family background as an African-American woman. As what can now be considered a conscious foreshadowing to her future endeavors, she describes her Swahili name’s intended meaning, saying: “My name is actually Fani (fah-nee), Taifa is my middle name, and my last name is Willis. So, my father was a Black Panther, so he was very Afrocentric… my name is Swahili. Fani actually means ‘prosperous,’ and Taifa means ‘people’.
The Trump campaign also accused Willis of hiding “a prior relationship with a member of a gang she was prosecuting.”
While Trump has repeatedly accused Willis of “having an affair” with a gang member — an accusation which was debunked by Fox News — his campaign email on Monday toned down the allegation to suggest that Willis had a “cool relationship” of the platonic kind.
Trump was charged with 13 felonies on Monday, including violation of the Georgia RICO Act, filing false documents, false statements and writings, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer, and conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree.
Several associates of Trump were also charged, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and former Trump attorneys Jenna Ellis and John Eastman.
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