Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) received a $2.5 million federal grant for her office to examine a backlog of more than 4,000 rape kits, with some dating back to the 1980s, she revealed in a press conference this week.
Willis announced the $2.5 million grant in a press conference on Thursday, when she said the funding will support testing for the rape kits of “4,342 victims” who “had the very worst day of their life” but “didn’t get justice” from Fulton County.
“Time after time we find serial rapists who had victimized not one but multiple victims,” Willis said at her press conference. “We also find lives of crime, meaning not only do they commit these horrible sexual assault cases, but they also commit other cases.”
Local media indicates a majority of the rape kit backlog involves cases dating to the 1980s or 1990s, though it has not been confirmed how many dates from this period. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that 3,588 of the rape kits set to be examined are from the Atlanta jurisdiction.
The Fulton County District Attorney’s office explained that the grant will allow two Atlanta Police Department detectives to work with Willis’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team, according to 11 Alive, which will also go through rape kits discovered at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Rape kits were discovered at the hospital in 2015 and 2016, when the Journal-Constitution reported that up to 1,500 kits were abandoned at the facility, never having been picked up by police. It was later claimed that victims needed to sign permission for the rape kits to be transported due to privacy laws.
During the press conference, Fulton County said 300 rape kits were already being examined due to the federal funding.
Republicans have targeted Willis and her office due to its more than 40,000 cases backlog. Multiple legislators and pundits have said this backlog contributed to overcrowding at Fulton County Jail, where 10 inmates have died this year while awaiting trial, including six in a six-week period.
Former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler said the Fulton County criminal justice system is “frozen” because Willis is “blindly” pursuing her case against former President Donald Trump, to the detriment of other cases, during an appearance on “The John Fredericks Show” this week, calling her against Trump an opportunity “to interfere in the 2024 election.”
Georgia State Senator Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta), also in an appearance on “The John Fredericks Show,” blamed Willis for allowing the jail to become “a concentration camp that is out of control,” declaring her to be “obsessed with this political witch hunt for her own political gain.”
Willis saw the first major blow to her case against Trump on Thursday when a Fulton County judge severed the case against the former president and 16 other defendants from the case against his former attorneys Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro.
Untested rape kits became a political issue during the 2022 midterm elections when Trump-backed attorney general candidate John Gordon questioned the “backlog of 1,996 untested rape kits” under Attorney General Chris Carr’s watch.
– – –
Editor’s Note: John Fredericks is the Publisher of The Georgia Star News.