Man pleads guilty to threatening Fani Willis

 June 21, 2024

An Alabama man has pled guilty to threatening Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis and the sheriff who took Donald Trump's mugshot.

Arthur Ray Hanson II, of Huntsville, Alabama pled guilty Tuesday to making the threats ahead of Trump's indictment in Georgia last summer. Trump was charged along with 18 others in an alleged conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.

Fani Willis threats

At his plea hearing, Hanson said he never meant to hurt Willis or Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat, who booked Trump at the Fulton County jail. Days before Trump was indicted, Labat had warned Trump that "we'll have a mugshot ready for you."

Hanson said he wanted to pressure Willis not to charge Trump, calling it a "stupid" move borne out of anger.

“I made a stupid phone call,” Hanson said. "I’m not a violent person.”

In an August voicemail addressed to Willis, Hanson said, "When you charge Trump on that fourth indictment, anytime you’re alone, be looking over your shoulder.”

Similarly, Hanson warned Labat, “If you take a mug shot of the president and you’re the reason it happened, some bad (expletive)’s gonna happen to you."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret Hobson said prosecutors will seek leniency because Hanson accepted responsibility for the crime.

"I didn’t knowingly know I was threatening anybody,” Hanson told the judge. “To me, it was a warning.”

Willis defies critics as trial stalls

The Trump prosecution was derailed this year when Willis was accused of profiting from an affair with another prosecutor.

Willis also got into hot water for making an inflammatory speech at a church where she labeled her critics racists.

The judge declined to disqualify Willis while noting an "odor of mendacity" hovering over the case. She was permitted to stay on as long as her lover, Nathan Wade, resigned, which he did.

The ongoing legal battle over Willis' disqualification has all but guaranteed that the trial won't happen before the 2024 election. But Willis has continued to defy her critics, delivering another fiery speech at a black church in Atlanta this month.

“I spend no time thinking about them," she said at African Methodist Episcopal Church. "I’m too busy celebrating our fineness, our beauty, our success, our wisdom, but most of all our hearts to be bothered by attacks from anyone."

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