ATLANTA — The prosecutor leading the investigation of former President Donald J. Trump and his allies in Georgia said on Monday that she is aiming to announce any indictments by mid-July at the earliest, according to a letter she sent to a top local law enforcement official.
In her letter, Fani T. Willis, the district attorney in Fulton County, Ga., said that any charges would come during the court term that runs from July 11 to Sept. 1.
In January, Ms. Willis said that charging decisions in the investigation were “imminent.” But her timetable has been delayed, in part because a number of witnesses have sought to cooperate as the investigation has neared an end. Local law enforcement also needs time to prepare for potential security threats, a point that Ms. Willis emphasized in the letter.
Further complicating matters, Ms. Willis’s office filed a motion last week seeking the removal of a lawyer who is representing 10 Republicans who were part of a bogus slate of electors who sought to help Mr. Trump stay in power even after he lost the 2020 election in Georgia.
“In the near future, I will announce charging decisions resulting from the investigation my office has been conducting into possible criminal interference in the administration of Georgia’s 2020 General Election,” Ms. Willis wrote in the letter, which was sent to the sheriff of Fulton County, Patrick Labat, and was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I am providing this letter to bring to your attention the need for heightened security and preparedness in coming months due to this pending announcement.”
Ms. Willis’s office has spent more than two years investigating whether the former president and his allies illegally meddled in Georgia’s 2020 election, which Mr. Trump narrowly lost to President Biden.
A special grand jury that heard evidence in the case for roughly seven months recommended more than a dozen people for indictments, and its forewoman strongly hinted in an interview with The New York Times in February that Mr. Trump was among them.
Ultimately, it will be up to Ms. Willis to decide which charges to seek before a regular grand jury. Her letter, which was copied to a number of local officials, expressed grave concerns about courthouse security after her decisions are announced.
“Open-source intelligence has indicated the announcement of the decisions in this case may provoke a significant public reaction,” Ms. Willis wrote. “We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will endanger the safety of our community. As leaders, it is incumbent upon us to prepare.”
Security has been a concern of Ms. Willis’s for some time, and she has had some members of her staff outfitted with bulletproof vests. She wrote to the Atlanta field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in early 2022, a few months before the special grand jury began meeting to consider evidence and hear testimony in the case.
In that letter, Ms. Willis asked that the F.B.I. conduct a risk assessment of the county courthouse in downtown Atlanta and “provide protective resources to include intelligence and federal agents.”
Ms. Willis also noted in the F.B.I. letter that Mr. Trump, at a rally in Conroe, Texas, had called the prosecutors investigating him “vicious, horrible people,” and said he hoped “we are going to have in this country the biggest protests we have ever had in Washington, D.C., in New York, in Atlanta and elsewhere because our country and our elections are corrupt.”
Ms. Willis wrote that Mr. Trump had said at the same event that if re-elected, he might pardon people convicted of crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the United States Capitol. Armed pro-Trump protesters appeared around the Georgia State Capitol building a number of times in the weeks after the 2020 election, as Mr. Trump and his allies pushed false accusations of electoral fraud. On at least one occasion, armed counterprotesters were also in the streets.
On Jan. 6, 2021, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger of Georgia and his staff evacuated their offices at the State Capitol over concerns about a group of pro-Trump protesters, some armed with long guns, who were massing outside. Mr. Trump had previously called Mr. Raffensperger an “enemy of the people” for what Mr. Trump characterized as his mishandling of the Georgia election process.
“We must work together to keep the public safe and ensure that we do not have a tragedy in Atlanta similar to what happened at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021,” Ms. Willis wrote to the F.B.I.
Last month, Mr. Trump’s legal team in Georgia filed a motion seeking to quash the final report of the special grand jury. Portions of that report, which remain sealed, recommend indictments for people who have not been specified. The motion also asks that Ms. Willis’s office be disqualified from the case.
In a statement on Monday, the lawyers reiterated that they believed that the investigation so far has been a “deeply flawed legal process.”
Richard Fausset reported from Atlanta, and Danny Hakim from New York.