Fani Willis soundly defeated six-time incumbent Paul Howard in a contentious battle to become the next Fulton County District Attorney. Willis garnered more than 73% of the vote and dominated each precinct she won by nearly a three-to-one margin. She spoke to her supporters outside her law offices in Midtown Atlanta, praising the fact she was able to build a coalition from Buckhead to Bankhead.
#FaniWillis is on track to becoming the first Black woman to be elected Fulton County District Attorney. She also exclaimed she is making not history, but HERstory #GaPol #TheAtlantaVoice pic.twitter.com/RPW969Fpky— The Atlanta Voice (@theatlantavoice) August 12, 2020
“Y’all we made herstory,” said Willis, who becomes Fulton’s first female DA. “You have my word, during my tenure as district attorney in Fulton County, we will be a beacon for justice and ethics in Georgia and across the nation.”
Howard had been the Fulton County District Attorney since 1997. He has come under intense fire for misappropriating funds, fraud, and sexual improprieties. However, in defeat, Howard promised to ensure Willis’s transition will be amicable.
“I want Fani to know that I will extend my every effort to make sure that her transition is a smooth one,” he said.
Howard also said in his speech that Atlanta will “continue to have one of the safest places in the country.”
As her two daughters flanked her left and right, Willis promised to be a district attorney with integrity.
“Black, white, Hispanic, Asian… whether you’re from the northside or the southside, they want a district attorney to fight the tough fight,” Willis said. “To bring justice to victims, but who will also bring compassion and common sense to every case, and seek to repair what’s broken, not just seek retribution, so that we all as a community can move forward.”
In 2018, Willis returned to private practice and opened her own law firm in Midtown Atlanta. The Law Offices of Fani T. Willis, LLC., specializes in criminal defense, business, and corporate litigation, civil forfeiture and family law.
“I stand by the cases I individually had on my desk,” Willis explained in an interview with The Atlanta Voice. “I was there for sixteen years, four months, and four days. Eight of those years were spent on homicides. I’ve tried more than 100 cases and I’m in the 90th percentile. I’ve done very well. I’ve fought for my victims.”
“The case was about the children. When. I pick a jury, I make sure the jury is balanced and diverse. [On the APS case], I had six Blacks, and six Caucasians, with education levels ranging from a high school diploma to a Ph.D. This is what I was [also] unapologetic for: African-American children were harmed. I have had too many of the Black middle class tell me, ‘they were poor, they Black, they didn’t have any chances.’ It was one of the reasons that you will hear me talk about the things I’m going to do. I have a passion for youth programs and this passion for this young pre-indictment diversion program. Because I know our kids got a raw deal. They never got the education that they were entitled to and deserved and their options are reduced. I’ll accept that criticism.”
Willis, an alumna of Howard University and Emory Law, is set to take over the district attorney’s office because there is no Republican challenger in November’s general election.
“This office is about the people of Fulton County,” Willis explained to The Atlanta Voice. “And the people of Fulton County deserves the best. Instead of indicting thousands of Black. andBrown of young men, we will put them in programs and change their lives. You’re sitting with someone that wants to make a difference. Because they deserve a DA that won’t have sex with their employees or put money in these pockets. “