Politics

CNN Legal Expert Rips DA Fani Willis

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


CNN’s resident legal expert blasted Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her prosecutors for sloppy work after Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee threw out six charges against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants.

Expert and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig claimed Willis’ “screw up” led to McAfee’s ruling, calling it an “embarrassing” development for her and her prosecutorial team.

While admitting the case is still “in place,” having the counts dismissed is a “setback.”

Willis’ case against the former president for his alleged conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia faced setbacks earlier this year when allegations emerged of an inappropriate relationship between her and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade. Willis had hired Wade as one of the prosecutors to work on the case involving Trump, Fox News noted.

The potential conflict of interest cast a shadow over the case and led to a dramatic evidentiary hearing last month, during which she denied the allegations while on the witness stand.

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Other legal experts also believe she and Wade may have perjured themselves by claiming under oath and in court documents that their relationship began after he was hired, after witnesses and other evidence indicate that it likely started much sooner.

While speaking to CNN anchor Jim Acosta, Honig described this as a “screw-up” on the part of Willis and the prosecutors, adding it to the list of previous “screw-ups” that Willis had committed in the case.

“I don’t think this ruling changes the type of evidence that the DA’s going to be able to introduce, but it does knock out some of the charges, and look, it’s embarrassing for prosecutors,” he said. “It’s a screw-up by prosecutors when you bring a charge, and then a judge throws it out before it even goes to trial.”

He went on to criticize Willis’ behavior during the prosecution.

“There have been several screw-ups, frankly, by the DA throughout the history of this case,” he said. “Going back to the investigative phase, the DA got herself disqualified from a small piece of the case because she created a political conflict of interest.”

“The judge who was overseeing the grand jury removed Fani Willis from the case. We’ve seen Fani Willis make public statements in the church and elsewhere that have now been called into question that I think violate the ethics of prosecutorial rules, and now we’ve seen six of the charges thrown out of the case,” Honig continued.

“And unlike the conflict of interest issue, this does go to the charges against the defendant. This does go to the indictment itself,” he added before saying that the dismissal of the charges by McAfee is another “setback.”

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Willis will face at least two challengers during her reelection bid in the fall after another Democrat filed to run on Friday.

Previously, Courtney Kramer, a former Trump administration lawyer who describes herself as a “MAGA attorney” on her Instagram page, filed last week as well. Now, Willis will also face Christian Wise Smith, a Democrat who has also served as an Atlanta city solicitor and as a Fulton County prosecutor, who filed paperwork at the Georgia state capital on Friday, CBS News reported.

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Party primaries are scheduled for May 21, with the general election on Nov. 5.

In a statement to the outlet, Wise Smith said he had yet to decide formally if he will challenge Willis, but noted that the filing of paperwork was a required first step.

“Running for public office is not a decision I take lightly,” Wise Smith said. “I am heavily considering the options as I aim to reach a final determination on my candidacy — ultimately, I only want what is best for the citizens of Fulton County. Should I decide to launch my campaign officially, my team is prepared to take all the necessary steps.”

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