Fani Willis

Fani Willis Is Begging an Appeals Court Not to Kick Her off the Trump Case

DCNF(DCNF)—Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis urged a Georgia appeals court Monday not to take up defendants’ appeal of the decision allowing her to stay on the case against former President Donald Trump.

Willis told the Georgia Court of Appeals in a filing Monday it should reject defendants’ continued efforts to disqualify her, noting that Judge Scott McAfee found “the evidence insufficient to establish any actual conflict of interest and declined to dismiss the indictment.” McAfee’s March ruling allowed Willis to remain on the case if special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who she was in a relationship with and was accused of financially benefiting from appointing, stepped down.

Willis argued Monday the appeal only reflects defendants’ “dissatisfaction” with the outcome based on “proper application of well-established law to the facts.”

“Days of evidence and testimony failed to disclose anything like a calculated pre-trial plan designed to prejudice the defendants or secure their convictions,” the filing states. “The applicants have not identified any public statement injecting the District Attorney’s personal belief as to the defendants’ guilt or appealing to the public weighing of evidence.”

While McAfee did not find the defendants were able to prove an “actual” conflict of interest, he said the record highlighted “a significant appearance of impropriety.” He said there were “reasonable questions” about the truthfulness of Willis’ and Wade’s testimony about the timing of their relationship.

McAfee granted the defendants a certificate of review late March enabling them to appeal his ruling.

Willis argued that the appeal should be rejected because McAfee made “no factual finding of false testimony or a false affidavit.”

“In requesting a contrary finding on this issue, the applicants would have this Court invade the province of the trial court and make additional factual findings,” the filing said. “This it cannot do.”

Her filing also defended Willis’ “church speech” in January, where she suggested Nathan Wade was being attacked because of his race and falsely claimed she was paying all three special prosecutors the same amount.

“Insofar as the District Attorney delivered a speech at a local church, the trial court concluded the speech did not ‘cross the line’ because it failed to name any defendant; it did not disclose sensitive or confidential evidence; it did not address the merits of the indicted offenses to move the trial to the court of public opinion; and further, the case is too far removed from jury selection for any actual prejudice or improper effect on the jury pool to actualize,” she wrote.

McAfee’s ruling stated the speech was “legally improper” and “creates dangerous waters for the District Attorney to wade further into,” though he found it did not require disqualification.

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