Fani Willis Faces Former Trump Lawyer as Challenger in Atlanta DA Election

A Republican lawyer who has worked both in the Trump White House and with the Trump campaign declared on Friday that she is running to unseat Fani T. Willis, the embattled Atlanta prosecutor leading the election interference case against the former president in Georgia.

The challenger, Courtney A. Kramer, 30, qualified on Friday to run for Fulton County district attorney. As a little-known candidate and a Republican, she faces long odds in the heavily Democratic county — former President Donald J. Trump won only 26 percent of its vote in 2020.

But she may be able to raise large sums of money from Trump supporters around the country, receive airtime on conservative media outlets and use the exposure to sow doubts about the prosecution of Mr. Trump in the run-up to the November election.

Ms. Kramer will also likely amplify the drumbeat of criticism of Ms. Willis, who is the subject of a disqualification effort backed by lawyers for Mr. Trump and his co-defendants.

The biography on Ms. Kramer’s LinkedIn page lists myriad MAGA credentials. She was an intern in the White House Counsel’s Office during the Trump administration and later a litigation consultant for the Trump campaign’s legal team in Georgia after the 2020 election, when it was trying to keep him in power despite his loss.

She has worked at a firm run by Ray Smith III, one of Mr. Trump’s co-defendants in the elections case. She has also worked as a special counsel for the Georgia Republican Party, when it was run by David Shafer, another co-defendant in the Trump case. Her résumé also includes a year as executive director of True the Vote, an organization that spreads misinformation about the 2020 election.

Ms. Kramer, in a brief interview with reporters on Friday, said that the catalyst for her campaign was the August indictment of Mr. Trump and 18 of his allies, who were accused of conspiring to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia. (Four defendants have since pleaded guilty.)

She described the indictment as the “moment that I said I’ve had enough,” and added: “The resources that were used for that investigation could have been used for many other things that would have been much more beneficial for the citizens of Fulton County.”

The candidacy is another headache for Ms. Willis, a Democrat who took office in January 2021. A judge has said he will rule this month on the disqualification motions, which claim that Ms. Willis created a conflict of interest by receiving gifts from a romantic partner whom she hired to manage the Trump case. Ms. Willis denies there is a conflict of interest and is fighting to stay on the case.

Ms. Kramer would not say whether she would move to dismiss the Trump indictment if elected. However, she said of Mr. Trump: “I do not think he broke the law.” She also said that if Ms. Willis is not disqualified, it would set “a horrible precedent for D.A.’s across the state and across the country.”

A Democratic challenger to Ms. Willis also qualified for the ballot on Friday. Christian Wise Smith, a former prosecutor, ran unsuccessfully for Fulton County district attorney in 2020, and for Georgia attorney general in 2022.

After qualifying, Mr. Smith said he had registered to keep his options open and was not sure whether he would actually campaign for the job.

Election Day for the district attorney’s race is Nov. 5, the same day voters will head to the polls to make their pick for president.


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