Expecting a Response to an Email Is Racist, Trump Prosecutor Suggests in Leaked Emails

Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis (Getty Images)
January 19, 2024

The district attorney prosecuting former president Donald Trump in Georgia suggested in an email exchange earlier this month that racism was at play when one of Trump's attorneys pressed her team for a response to his emails.

Trump defense lawyer Steven Sadow requested responses from District Attorney Fani Willis's team to a series of emails he sent, according to the New York Times, which obtained portions of the conversation. After Executive District Attorney Daysha Young replied by suggesting the prosecuting attorneys were being treated with disrespect because they're black, Willis sent an email to Sadow affirming Young's charge.

"In the legal community (and the world at large) some people will never be able to respect African Americans and/or women as their equal and counterpart. That is a burden you do not experience. Further, some are so used to doing it they are not even aware they are doing it while others are intentional in their continued disrespect," Willis, who is black, said in an email to Sadow and Trump's other defense attorneys, most of whom are white men.

The conversation began Jan. 5 when Sadow told the prosecution, "For the life of me, I cannot understand why you refuse to respond to the series of emails below." Young, who is black, responded to him five days later, saying that she and Willis "are both aware, especially as an African American woman some find it difficult to treat us respectfully."

"Over the last month the emails of some of you have been disrespectful and condescending lacking both professionalism and decorum," Young said, adding that she did not respond to some of the emails because they were disrespectful. Sadow then said that alleging racism was "offensive, uncalled for, and untrue" and that Young's lack of communication "suggests a degree of haughtiness."

That was when Willis made her statement.

"Now you know, I cannot be bullied," Willis said in her response to Sadow.

"As you are aware," she added, "I have now experienced some of the most powerful people in the country call me everything, but a child of God. But, yet here I and my team stand still pursuing justice."

Sadow has defended prominent black celebrities in his legal career, including the singer Usher and rappers T.I., Rick Ross, and, most recently, Gunna.

Willis is facing controversy after a court filing accused her of engaging in an improper relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor she appointed to lead a racketeering case against the former president. In a Sunday speech, she suggested that racism had a part in the allegations against her and Wade, who is also black.