Trump Lawyer Responds to Fani Willis Disqualification Ruling

Trump Lawyer Responds to Fani Willis Disqualification Ruling
(Left) Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, in Rome, Ga., on March 9, 2024. (Right) Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Ga., on Feb. 15, 2024. (Mike Stewart/AP Photo; Alyssa Pointer/Pool/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump’s lawyer on March 15 reacted after a Georgia judge, in a partial victory for President Trump and other defendants, ruled that either Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis or special prosecutor Nathan Wade must exit the case against President Trump and others.

Steve Sadow, the lawyer, said counsel respects Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee’s decision but thinks the judge did not fully take into account all the details in the case.

“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,” Mr. Sadow said.

“We will use all legal options available as we continue to fight to end this case, which should never have been brought in the first place,” he added.

Judge McAfee ruled on Friday that either Ms. Willis or Mr. Wade must step down because of their personal relationship and unanswered questions about a possible financial benefit to Ms. Willis from hiring Mr. Wade as the special prosecutor resulted in the appearance of impropriety.

“Even if the romantic relationship began after SADA Wade’s initial contract in November 2021, the district attorney chose to continue supervising and paying Wade while maintaining such a relationship,” he said. “She further allowed the regular and loose exchange of money between them without any exact or verifiable measure of reconciliation. This lack of a confirmed financial split creates the possibility and appearance that the District Attorney benefited—albeit non-materially—from a contract whose award lay solely within her purview and policing.”

Ashleigh Merchant, a lawyer representing Michael Roman, who filed the motion for disqualification, said separately that “the judge clearly agreed with the defense that the actions of Willis are a result of her poor judgment and that there is a risk to the future of this case if she doesn’t quickly work to cure her conflict.”

She added, “While we do not agree that the court’s suggested cure is adequate in response to the egregious conduct by the district attorney, we look forward to the district attorney’s response to the demands by the court.”

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade took multiple trips together, including going on several cruises that departed from Florida, according to bank records and court filings. Mr. Wade paid the bulk of the expenses, according to the records, although Ms. Willis has claimed she paid him back in cash.

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade have claimed their romantic relationship has since ended but Ms. Willis also testified that their relationship is “stronger than ever.”

“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,” the judge, who donated to Ms. Willis’ campaign, said. That’s when he ordered either Ms. Willis or Mr. Wade to step down.

Mr. Wade stepped down on Friday.

Other Reactions

A number of other people also reacted negatively to the ruling.

“There’s an actual conflict of interest. She made money from this case,”  Alan Dershowitz, a professor emeritus at Harvard Law School, said on Newsmax.

He added later: “This is a scandal. And the judge just didn’t have the courage to do the right thing. And judges often don’t, and they will find a way out. And this is a weaselly way out.”

Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School, said on Fox News that the ruling was not correct.

“It’s like finding two people in a bank vault and taking one off to jail,” he said.

If Ms. Willis steps down, then her office could not handle the case and it would be reassigned by a council, according to the ruling. If Mr. Wade withdraws, Ms. Willis and her office would remain on the case.

Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, said on MSNBC that the ruling was a win for Ms. Willis.

“She should just go ahead with the evidence and the law, remove Nathan Wade. She has two other prosecutors, so it should not affect the case,” he said. “All in all, this is a win for Fani Willis. She needs to move on from the criticisms of her and her behavior that’s in the past and just keep looking forward.”

Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) disagrees, calling on Fox Business the ruling “a Trump win” while urging state officials to investigate Ms. Willis for corruption.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed a law this week that empowers a state commission to impose discipline on and remove prosecutors, while a Georgia Senate committee that was recently created is slated to probe Ms. Willis over the case.

Ms. Merchant told the committee on March 6 that she uncovered numerous issues, including how Mr. Wade did not file an oath when he took the job and that he submitted unusual invoices.

From The Epoch Times

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