Saturday 16 March 2024

‘Like Finding Two People In A Bank Vault And Taking One Off To Jail’: Turley Slams Fani Willis Verdict

 After Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Friday that either Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis or Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade had to exit the 2020 Georgia election case against former President Donald Trump for the prosecution to continue, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley stated, “It’s like finding two people in a bank vault and taking one off to jail.”

The decision came after Willis was accused by co-defendant Mike Roman of being romantically involved with Wade at the time she hired him for the Trump case. A witness testified last month that the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade began before the case started, while Willis maintains that the relationship didn’t take place until later.

Turley started by explaining one reason McAfee might have rendered such a decision: “The reason that’s attractive is that it avoids the cliff problem. If he took Willis off the case, he’d have to take the entire office out of the mix. He’d have to reassign this to another set of prosecutors. That would cause considerable delay, could also cause the dismissal of the case if those new prosecutors looked at this racketeering theory and said, like many of us, ‘Wow, this doesn’t really hold together very well.’”

“So this avoided the cliff but it did not avoid the question that will inevitably come up,” he continued. “It’s like finding two people in a bank vault and taking one off to jail. The question is the appearance problem, that the judge identified with regard to Wade, was directly related to his relationship with Willis. They both testified in the same way. They were the two parts of this relationship, and yet only one of them was disqualified. And so that’s going to lead to these questions: Why should Willis escape that same penalty? The opinion leaves us feeling like the court went and shot the wounded.”

“The problem is the disjointed aspect of the opinion itself,” Turley stated. “It doesn’t really hold together that well. The big question was: What is the standard? Is it just an appearance or do you have to show an actual conflict? He indicates that he believes it is indeed the appearance standard.”

“Well, if that’s the case, I don’t see how Willis escaped disqualification,” he asserted. “Many people believed that both of these prosecutors lied on the stand, that there were false statements admitted to courts. The key about that is Willis and Wade are prosecuting people in this case for that very conduct. And so it’s hard to see how Willis continuing the case does not undermine it in the eyes of the public and hurts the case overall.”


Turley noted of Willis, “She will stand accused of false statements as she prosecutes others for that type of conduct. And keep in mind that there are state efforts now to fully investigate this including possible bar issues.”

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