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The Fani Willis Fallout Continues

The real show may just be beginning.

When Georgia Judge Scott McAfee ruled that either Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis or her erstwhile paramour, Nathan Wade, must step aside in the case against former President Donald Trump, one could have assumed the legal melodrama was essentially over. However, after a fresh appeal by Trump and co-defendants challenging the decision to deny her disqualification, it seems that the next season of politics’ most exciting soap opera is about to begin.

On March 20, Judge McAfee issued a certificate of immediate review, allowing the defendants to pursue a different outcome in a higher court. We spoke with Liberty Nation Legal Affairs Editor Scott D. Cosenza, Esq. to understand what this means for the election interference case, Trump, and ultimately, for Ms. Willis.

A Race Not Yet Run?

Mark Angelides: Scott, I think many observers were surprised that Fani Willis was allowed to remain on the case. Based on Fourth Estate reports, it appeared that with Mr. Wade’s resignation, this whole affair was over and done with. What’s the process for a “certificate of immediate review,” and does it seem that Judge McAfee was expecting this to happen?

Scott D. Cosenza, Esq.: McAfee’s order stops specific progress on the case. It allows the defendants to challenge his ruling on Willis’ disqualification to the Georgia Court of Appeals for a remedy before the trial begins. Otherwise, a defendant would have to wait until the conclusion of a case before appealing. They have ten days to file, and the appellate court will have 45 days to decide whether to hear the case. Judge McAfee must have anticipated an appeal to his order.

Georgia Grand Jury Delivers Indictment In 2020 Election CaseATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 14: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. A grand jury today handed up an indictment naming former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies over an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Mark: Donald Trump’s lead counsel, Steve Sadow, said the judge’s decision was “highly significant” and that “the defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified.” Is this just lawyerly bravado, or does he have a point?

Scott: It’s huge for the timeline alone. Mr. Wade wrote that he had resigned “to move this case forward as quickly as possible.” At this point, I take it as a given that Ms. Willis’ prosecution of Trump and his co-defendants was undertaken for political purposes. If the goal was to see Mr. Trump tried at least, if not tried and convicted before November 5th, then this order and its concomitant delay is like manna from heaven for Trump.

Mark: What happens if the Georgia Court of Appeals refuses the case? And what happens if they do not?

Scott: If they take the case, they will schedule arguments and set forth a briefing schedule, and more delays will ensue. If they decline, then everything goes back to Judge McAfee’s court to get on with all the business of moving a case to trial.

Fani Willis and the Indefensible Defense

Mark: Let’s briefly talk about Fani Willis and Nathan Wade. Based on all the witness testimony, it seems that either Willis and Wade committed perjury or the other witnesses did. Is there going to be any remedy for the lies in court?

Scott: When courts talk about remedies, that is usually a civil law term. While Wade and Willis will have challenges to their licenses to practice law in Georgia, and that is civil law, I think you’re really getting at criminal charges. Georgia’s Attorney General Chris Carr is the best bet for that, and reports suggest he is considering it. There’s another alternative, and it’s pretty out there but interesting to consider. Fani Willis and Nathan Wade may have committed a federal crime, conspiring to violate the rights of Trump and his co-defendants. If Trump were to become president, we could see a federal criminal prosecution of Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis.

Mark: It seems to me, Scott, that Trump and his co-defendants’ best defense is to continue keeping Fani Willis front and center. After all, since this whole debacle started, no one has written a word about the actual charges. What’s your big takeaway?

Scott: Ms. Willis should be required to file a Federal Election Campaign disclosure for an in-kind contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign. Her prosecution of Donald Trump seems to have done more than any pro-Trump campaign could have managed to prove he really is the target of partisan prosecutors out to fix the upcoming election. Add to that her disgraceful and unprofessional performance in court with a perjury kicker, and the answer is clear – she is a boon to Trump.

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