Fiasco in Fulton: Judge Ruling Released on Fani Willis


Jay Sekulow

March 15

4 min read




The fiasco in Fulton County continues. Judge Scott McAfee issued his ruling in the disqualification hearing for District Attorney Fani Willis: Either she and her office or Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade must step aside. Assuming DA Willis decides to remain on as prosecutor, the case against President Donald Trump for Georgia election interference will continue.

The judge’s decision is ridiculous and very weak. First of all, I can’t reconcile his ruling with phrases such as “an odor of mendacity remains.” In other words, the stench of lying is still all over the case.

If you want the impartial administration of justice – especially in a case involving a former President – you must have lawful due process and equal protection in a criminal justice system. This was not the wisdom of Solomon. Removing one individual instead of both guilty parties makes absolutely no sense.

The judge even pointed out that Georgia law gives the authority to disqualify a prosecutor based on an “appearance of impropriety” and then directly noted in his ruling that the court found “the existence of an appearance of impropriety” regarding the relationship between DA Willis and Wade.

So with the “odor of mendacity” and the clear evidence of an “appearance of impropriety,” why did the judge allow DA Willis to continue as prosecutor? ACLJ Senior Counsel Andy Ekonomou, a former prosecutor in Georgia and current resident of Fulton County, asserted: “I’ll tell you why. It’s very simply this: It’s a Republican judge running for reelection in a Democratic county. There’s no other way around it.”

Personally, the question that lingers for me is how the judge can move forward with such a tainted case. This judge’s ruling clearly doesn’t remove the appearance of impropriety.

ACLJ Senior Counsel and Director of Policy Harry Hutchison commented on the “conflict of interest” within the case.

One of the questions that the judge focused on was whether there is a conflict of interest. What is a conflict of interest? It includes acquiring a personal interest or financial stake in the defendant’s conviction. And there is indeed evidence in the record showing that Fani Willis had a personal stake in the defendant’s conviction, and that is compounded by evidence of mendacity. So the appropriate remedy under the circumstances is to disqualify Fani Willis.

Add in all the financial entanglement in this case (Wade was paid almost $700k, and he and DA Willis arguably used federal funds to go on vacation), and you have a clear conflict of interest.

Here’s another important point that the judge didn’t consider. Wade was the lead prosecutor. Normally, any evidence compiled by a disqualified prosecutor would be viewed as tainted (the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine). Yet, the judge didn’t address what happens to the evidence at all.

He didn’t toss any of the witnesses or evidence. President Trump’s defense attorney should move for a motion to suppress this tainted evidence, meaning none of the evidence generated by Wade should be allowed in the case. This motion could force DA Willis to restart her investigation from scratch.

The judge is clearly under a lot of political pressure right now. Unfortunately, his decision was not based on the law or past precedent in Georgia. He listed all the reasons DA Willis should be disqualified based on evidence in the hearing but then didn’t disqualify her. The American people should be very disappointed.

A lot of people are raising questions about whether President Trump’s trial will now take place before November. I don’t think so. My colleague Andy Ekonomou concurred:

There’s no way this case will go to trial before November. Not to mention, this is an interlocutory ruling – that is to say, it is a ruling during the pendency of a case. It is not immediately appealable as a matter of right. However, the judge could let either side [appeal] since both sides lost and both sides won, in a sense. Take the case to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which the Georgia Court of Appeals could grant the interlocutory review or not. Chances are the Georgia Court of Appeals will not, but it is now March 15. The likelihood of this case being tried before the election in November is zero.

It’s a bad day for the justice system and for Fulton County. It makes these counties look like they’re operating in a third-world country. This tainted process only makes the American people more skeptical that justice will ultimately prevail. 

Today’s Sekulow broadcast included a full analysis of the judge’s outrageous decision to allow DA Willis the option of staying on the case against President Trump.

Watch the full broadcast below: