The Left turns on Fani Willis after Judge finds ‘an odor of mendacity remains’ in the case 

Many of us were demoralized by Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee’s decision on Friday to allow District Attorney Fani Willis to continue prosecuting the RICO case against former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants. McAfee ruled that Willis may carry on as long as she fires ex-lover Nathan Wade, whom she hired as the special prosecutor in the case in November 2021. Wade resigned from the position on Friday.

Throughout McAfee’s 23-page ruling, he sharply criticized both Willis and Wade for their questionable testimony and their “bad choices.” Yet, he concluded, “Georgia law does not permit the finding of an actual conflict for simply making bad choices – even repeatedly.” 

He wrote that his decision is “by no means an indication that the Court condones this tremendous lapse in judgment or the unprofessional manner of the District Attorney’s testimony.” 

As the judge saw it, the defendants did not prove that Willis and Wade’s relationship was an “actual” conflict of interest under Georgia law. Regarding Willis’s claim that she paid Wade in cash for her half of the lavish vacations they took together, McAfee noted that while her method of reimbursement was “unusual,” it was “not so incredible as to be inherently unbelievable.”

McAfee’s conclusion was reminiscent of former FBI Director James Comey’s choice not to prosecute then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in July 2016 after citing a long list of “potential” violations of the law in connection with her use of a personal server during her tenure as secretary of state.

Despite the outcome, the Left appears to have turned on Willis. Like rats deserting a sinking ship, many in the legacy media are now calling for her to recuse herself from the case. Leading the pack is MSNBC contributor Andrew Weissmann, a rabid partisan best known for his leadership role on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation team. He said, “I think this is such a huge body blow, almost a fatal blow to Fani Willis. I think the way forward is she has to voluntarily recuse herself.” He’s just not sure if she “has it in her.”

Willis “clearly has no credibility with this judge,” he continued. “I think she needs to remove herself voluntarily and say someone else is going to oversee this case in Georgia. So that whatever happens to her in terms of ethics, it doesn’t taint this case.” 

CNN’s chief legal affairs correspondent Paula Reid sees McAfee’s ruling as “really a gift to President Trump and his co-defendants because they’re not only going to fight this case on the merits, they’ll fight it in the court of public opinion. Optics here matter.”

Holding up a copy of the document, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig said, “Any one of these statements by a judge would be a career ender. For a normal prosecutor, to have an on-the-record finding that there are reasonable questions that you lied under oath, that would be devastating. … The bottom line, the DA survives, but not without serious bruising.”

The Washington Post called it a “serious setback for Fani Willis.” And the New York Times wrote that, “Disqualification isn’t the only threat to Fani Willis’s prosecution.”

Two months of legal wrangling that included disastrous testimony and possible perjury from both Willis and Wade has certainly taken its toll on this case. And just as a pickle can never be a cucumber again, this case will never be considered a fair and just prosecution by a large swath of voters.

This is far from over for Willis. Trump and his co-defendants will likely appeal McAfee’s decision. (However, Willis’s case against them will continue during the appeal process.)

In the meantime, a Georgia state Senate committee has opened an investigation “to determine if Willis violated ethics rules or state laws.” Republican state Sen. Bill Cowsert, chairman of the committee, told CNN last week that lawmakers are trying “to determine whether there has been improper behavior, whether it’s been financial irregularities, and whether state laws have been broken.” (It’s worth noting that the Republican Party controls both chambers of the state legislature.)

And last Wednesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, signed legislation that will create a commission to investigate local prosecutors for misconduct. Kemp said, “This legislation will help us ensure rogue or incompetent prosecutors are held accountable if they refuse to uphold the law.” Like Willis.

Additionally, if it can be proven that Willis perjured herself on the witness stand or in sworn statements she submitted to the court about the timing of her romantic relationship with Wade, she could face consequences from the State Bar of Georgia.  

But leave it to the Democrats to apply a little pressure of their own. McAfee is a 34-year-old former prosecutor and inspector general who was appointed to the bench by Gov. Kemp in February 2023, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was running (unopposed) for a full four-year term in May. 

Lo and behold, shortly after deliberations in this case began, it was reported that he would face a challenge from Atlanta civil rights attorney and talk radio host Robert Patillo. According to Fox News, Patillo is the “former executive director of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the social justice and civil rights group founded by Rev. Jesse Jackson.” 

A question for Judge McAfee: If you consider Wade a potential liar, and he and Willis told the same story, doesn’t that make Willis a potential liar too? Just asking.

A previous version of this article appeared in the Washington Examiner.

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