CNN legal correspondent argues Fani Willis staying on case a ‘gift’ for Trump

CNN chief legal correspondent Paula Reid responded to Friday’s decision that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is not being removed from the Georgia election interference case, insisting the ruling is a “gift” for former President Donald Trump.

Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Friday that Willis could continue leading the prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump and other codefendants in Georgia IF her former boyfriend Nathan Wade withdraws from the case. Essentially skimming over the glaring conflict of interest, McAfee softened his decision by sharply criticizing Willis for her “tremendous lapse in judgment” when she hired Wade as a special prosecutor on the case while allegedly involved with him romantically.

“As the case moves forward, reasonable members of the public could easily be left to wonder whether the financial exchanges have continued resulting in some form of benefit to the District Attorney, or even whether the romantic relationship has resumed,” McAfee wrote.

“Put differently, an outsider could reasonably think that the District Attorney is not exercising her independent professional judgment totally free of any compromising influences,” he said. “As long as Wade remains on the case, this unnecessary perception will persist.”

Reid argued that McAfee’s criticism of Willis amounted to “ammunition” for Trump, pointing out that the judge said she “made bad choices.”

“Even though she is going to stay on the case, all of this, specifically this language from the judge, it’s really a gift for the former President Trump and his co-defendants because they aren’t going to fight this case on the merits; they will fight it in the court on public opinion,” she said. “Optics here matter.”

“He has tried to undermine trust in the justice system,” Reid said of Trump. “And if you have a judge who is overseeing a case, calling the prosecutor, again, unprofessional, saying that she made a bad decision, she had a lapse in judgment, that is a lot of ammunition.”

Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead Georgia attorney, essentially proved Reid correct when he said his team will use “all legal options available as we continue to fight to end this case.”

“While respecting the Court’s decision, we believe that the Court did not afford appropriate significance to the prosecutorial misconduct of Willis and Wade, including the financial benefits, testifying untruthfully about when their personal relationship began, as well as Willis’ extrajudicial MLK ‘church speech,’ where she played the race card and falsely accused the defendants and their counsel of racism,” Sadow said in a statement.

Tom Tillison


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