ATLANTA - Multiple law enforcement agencies are beefing up security at the Fulton County courthouse ahead of a possible grand jury indictment of former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies over efforts to overturn the then-president’s 2020 election loss.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis began investigating more than two years ago, shortly after a recording was released of a January 2021 phone call Trump made to Georgia’s secretary of state.
Willis has strongly hinted that any indictment would come between now and Aug. 18. One of two grand juries seated July 11 is expected to hear the case.
"If an indictment came today, we would be ready," said Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat.
The security planning preps are already underway for an indictment decision. That decision will put the Fulton County courthouse in the national spotlight.
"Our goal is to provide a wide perimeter that creates safety first and access second," Labat said. "So, ultimately, those that need to be in the courthouse can conduct business in the courthouse in a safe environment."
Over the last few months, Sheriff Labat has sent teams to Miami and New York to learn security protocols for Trump's two previous arraignments. He says they learned in Miami a secure perimeter is a must, which is why orange barricades are up outside the courthouse.
Sheriff Labat says it is part of a layered security approach.
"There are a number of agencies, including different sheriff's offices and different federal agencies that have really stepped in to lend resources," he said. "We've created a force multiplier that you have never seen before."
Labat says they have received dozens of threats and are taking each one seriously.
"When you make a threat, when you become a keyboard bully, it's our goal to come and really hold you accountable," he said.
Officials have warned about possible protests downtown in a place that has seen a number the last few years.
For the owner of Reuben's Deli in Downtown Atlanta, he is watching what is happening but is not planning to make any changes to his operation.
"I'm not concerned about it, I think the dynamic of who would be protesting is vastly different from what we had to deal with in 2020," said Claudio Furgiuele, owner of Reuben’s Deli.
On Tuesday, Trump was indicted for the third time, with the former president being charged in Washington over his efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 election.
The federal investigation is the latest criminal case for Trump as he runs for the White House in 2024.
Special counsel Jack Smith, who indicted Trump in the election case, has also charged Trump in federal court with the illegal retention of top secret documents. In New York, Trump faces criminal charges in a hush money case and a civil trial over his business practices.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and says he is being targeted by Democrats trying to keep him from reclaiming the presidency.
If the former president is indicted in Georgia, Sheriff Labat says he would be treated like anyone else.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.