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'We can't be overly cautious' | Fulton sheriff to secure courthouse area as grand jury selection begins in DA's Trump investigation

Road closures and increased security will be present around the Fulton County Justice Center Complex starting Monday as a special grand jury is selected.

ATLANTA — Starting Monday, a special grand jury will be selected inside the Fulton County Court House for the district attorney's probe into former President Donald Trump's possible interference with the 2020 election in Georgia.

The jurors are being selected to hear witness testimony and consider any evidence presented as part of District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation of Trump and his possible interference or attempts to interfere with the election.

"We are treating it just like any other big event that the city and county have been able to host over the years, whether it be the Super Bowl or NCAA," Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said when asked about security measures during the grand jury selection. 

Labat's office is leading a federal, state, county, and local law enforcement effort to keep the Fulton County Justice Center, surrounding buildings, and anyone in the area as safe as possible. 

"We want to make sure that this is hopefully much to do about nothing, but we can't be overly cautious and we are going to make sure that all of our customers are safe and secure," Labat said. 

The safety measures begin with road closures.

Pryor, Mitchell, Central, and multiple lanes on MLK immediately around the Fulton County Justice Center will be closed all next week, except for transit buses. 

Specific street closures include:

  • Pryor Street between MLK and Mitchell Street
  • Mitchell Street from Pryor Street to Central Avenue
  • Central Avenue between Mitchell Street and MLK
  • MLK: The the two lanes adjacent to the Fulton County Justice Center complex will be closed

RELATED: Lane, road closures near Underground Atlanta, Fulton County Justice Center scheduled for next week

Anyone in the area will also see more officers from several agencies.

"There will be a larger presence just to make sure that our business, business continuity stays intact," he said. 

The sheriff said other nearby sheriffs have offered resources and Labat will be using assistance from nearby jurisdictions as part of the increased security.

Labat is hopeful downtown will operate as close to normal as possible. County offices and nearby businesses will remain open. 

According to the sheriff, he is working to make sure private businesses aren't negatively impacted but can continue to "thrive." 

A designated protester area will be near the old World of Coke Building next to the intersection of Central and MLK. 

Since the 2020 election and during Willis' investigation the DA herself, her staff, and others in county offices have received threats, leading them to increase their own security. 

Labat is aware of the past threats, but he says it isn't influencing his office's plans. 

"We are preparing for the worst and certainly hoping for the best," the sheriff said. "So that is the place we are in and if there were no threats in the past we would still be as diligent about our preparation."

While county offices will remain open, the sheriff's office is advising anyone that doesn't need to be in the immediate courthouse area next week to avoid the area. 

Labat said since the beginning of the pandemic, more county services are now available online or remotely. He is also advising residents to download his office's app. He said any public updates on the security in the area will be posted there.