November 22nd 2023.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis made her first appearance in the Georgia election interference case which her office is prosecuting, presenting an argument to revoke bond for Harrison Floyd. Floyd is a leader of the political group Black Voices for Trump and was one of the 19 defendants indicted in 2023 in Fulton County, Georgia. Floyd is accused of engaging in a “pattern of intimidation” towards co-defendants and witnesses.
Willis requested that Judge Scott McAfee “revoke bond and he be remanded back into custody.” However, Floyd’s attorney defined his comments as political speech, saying “This is political speech your honor. And they’re trying to silence it.”
Willis declared her office’s intent to call three witnesses during the course of the hearing, including Gabriel Sterling, an election official whom Floyd allegedly threatened. Willis argued that Floyd had to face the consequences of his actions, saying, “He does not get an ‘oh, I’m sorry,’ after I’ve already intimidated the witnesses in this case. It is too late.”
Judge McAfee ultimately decided that Floyd’s remarks did not deserve a bond revocation, remarking that though he made “technical violations” of his bond agreement, “not every violation compels revocation.” Willis was not pleased with the choice of the judge, telling CNN, “He was given an opportunity to cooperate with the rules of this case and what he really did was spit on the court and refuse to oblige by three of the seven conditions of this bond order.”
Michael Hill, an assistant chief investigator in Fulton County, read aloud the posts from Floyd directed at the witnesses Willis will be calling. Sometimes, he had to translate internet speak to preserve the legal decorum. Hill read one post, saying, “The content is as follows: ‘Black American Dems want the ‘Black Trump Guy’ to tell on the ‘RACIST WHITE REPUBLICANS’ but only if it’s President Trump? Lol, look, the truth is that @GASecofState and @GabrielSterling are the pieces of’ – and it’s a emoji of poop or fecal matter. They are the pieces of – that emoji – you should be mad at.’”
Gabriel Sterling, whom Willis called to testify, said that he doesn’t feel threatened by the remarks of Floyd, saying, “It’s par for the course when you’re a public figure.” However, another witness, Von DuBose, a representative of Ruby Freeman, another witness in the case, says that the remarks concerning DuBose’s client created concern. DuBose said the posts concerning Freeman led to a rise in attacks against her online, which prompted her to relocate. DuBose also said the attacks constitute a beginning to potential threats to Freeman, saying they have caused the creation of additional security protocols to ensure her safety.
In the end, Willis’s request to revoke Floyd’s bond was denied. While Willis was not pleased with the result, she made it clear that she will continue to prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law. As the first defendant to be indicted in the case, Floyd’s actions are being closely monitored by both the prosecution and the defense.
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