(Bloomberg) -- Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said he backs Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis because he wants a tough top prosecutor like her to reduce crime and ensure fair elections.

Willis’s role overseeing the election-interference case against former President Donald Trump has been under scrutiny due to her romantic relationship with the special prosecutor on the case, Nathan Wade. 

Dickens, 49, said he attended a hearing earlier this month over whether Willis had engaged in a conflict of interest. The mayor said his goal in attending was to help shift attention back to Trump’s trial.

“I need a DA that’s going to help bring down violent crime and make sure we have trusted elections,” Dickens told Bloomberg TV’s Balance of Power on Tuesday from Atlanta.

Dickens said he’s worked with Willis, a fellow Democrat, in tackling a surge of crime that has swept through Georgia’s capital city since the pandemic. At one point, a series of violent incidents in Atlanta’s wealthy Buckhead area led some residents and leaders of that neighborhood to start a secession campaign to leave the city.

Since then, the city has had some success cutting crime, slashing homicides by 21% last year, curbing rape by 50% and lowering youth crime by 46%, Dickens said. 

Willis has been “instrumental” in prosecuting gangs and drug deals, and in curbing drug running, he said. The District Attorney’s office, under her control, has brought a major racketeering case against rapper Young Thug and more than two dozen others associated with YSL Records.

“Fani Willis actually is not on trial,” Dickens said. “Who is on trial is the former president of the United States, who has been accused of trying to steal an election.”

--With assistance from Brett Pulley.

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