In recent months, Black female attorneys have carried a heavy burden of attempting to hold former President Donald Trump accountable for his alleged criminal conduct.
Most recently, Fani Willis, district attorney of Fulton County, rolled out an indictment against Trump and 18 co-defendants for their attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
In recent weeks, Willis faced criticism from Trump supporters and Republican politicians, who have called for the Fulton County prosecutor to face impeachment or to defund her office for bringing charges against the former Republican president.
In a recent interview with theGrio, Kimberly Foxx, the state’s attorney for Cook County in Illinois, said, “I have seen an unprecedented attack on Black women…for doing their jobs.”
“The racialized, sexualized threats against Black women have been unrelenting, and I want to be able to say that these were isolated incidents,” said Foxx, who faced scrutiny from conservatives for her role in the criminal case against actor Jussie Smollett.
The case became politicized after Smollett, who claimed to have been attacked by men wearing “MAGA” hats, was accused of orchestrating a hoax. Foxx, the initial lead prosecutor who declined to charge Smollett, recalled to theGrio someone threatening to “hang her from a tree” and another who wanted to “rattle my brain with bullets.” Foxx told theGrio she is not seeking reelection as Cook County state’s attorney.
Foxx sees a pattern of threats being lodged against Black female prosecutors who happen to be on the opposing side of Donald Trump. “The fact of the matter is Fani Willis has the former president of the United States reposting threats on his social media,” she said. “It has felt like for the last seven years that Black women have been out here leading the fight for a criminal justice system that’s fair and just.”
However, Foxx noted, “Since coming into office in 2016…I have seen methodically an unrelenting pursuit of these women in office that [is] causing them to leave. Some on their own terms and sometimes not on their own terms.”
Foxx mentioned Monique Worrell, former Florida state’s attorney, who was also targeted for her criminal justice reform record. Last month, she was suspended by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Republican presidential candidate accused her of putting forth “practices and policies” that “allowed violent criminals to escape the full consequences of their criminal conduct, thereby endangering the innocent civilians of Orange and Osceola counties.”
In 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James also faced backlash for filing a lawsuit against Trump and his business for fraudulent activities that allegedly took place for more than a decade. James accused him of inflating the value of his assets in an attempt to defraud bank lenders and insurers. James also filed the lawsuit to preclude the former president or any of his three adult children from serving as executives for any New York company in the future.
Trump did not take too kindly to the lawsuit and accused James of being a “racist” and that she was engaging in a “witch hunt.”
Another Black woman in the criminal justice system tasked with holding Trump to account is Judge Tanya Chutkan. Similar to Foxx, Willis, and James, the federal district court judge received threats on her life, including from a Texas woman who was charged for saying, “We want to kill you.”
Foxx told theGrio that people are too “passive” in their response as it pertains to the criticisms Black prosecutors and lawyers face in the current political climate that Trump continues to dominate.
“People have to get as enraged as the people who are targeted…we have prosecutors who are out here who are trying to enforce the law. Who are actively, openly, and notoriously threatened in front of all of our eyes. That should outrage us,” she said.
Foxx added, “We should demand more, and we should hold people accountable, including the former president of the United States, when he engages in that type of behavior.”
TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!