Closing Arguments in Fani Willis Disqualification Hearing Do Not Go Well For Her

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Judge Scott McAfee heard closing arguments in the disqualification effort to remove Fulton County DA Fani Willis and her team from the election interference case that involves former President Donald Trump and multiple other defendants. 

Prior to the closing arguments the judge made a comment that indicated he thought he might be able to make a decision without making a decision on the entering further exhibits like the cellphone data that shows 2000 calls between the two and almost 10,000 texts prior to the time they said they were in a romantic relationship. 

The closing arguments did not appear to go well for the prosecution, with Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Adam Abbate arguing the matter. Abbate argued there had to be an “actual conflict” for disqualification.

He said defense attorneys need to prove there was an “actual” conflict of interest — that the DA received a “financial benefit or gain in relation to the outcome of the case” — not just the appearance of a conflict.

Judge Scott McAfee said Georgia case law appears to show that the appearance of impropriety can be grounds for disqualification. But Abbate said “that’s not the standard.” He said the appearance of impropriety in prior cases had arisen from actual conflicts of interest.

Multiple outlets dinged Abbate’s effort.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was one such news outlet to note the “long pauses and halting answers as he at times struggled to answer questions from Judge Scott McAfee” and even suggested that Willis at times “seemed eager to step up to the podium and argue the matter herself.”

Even MSNBC’s Katy Tur had issues with Abbate. 

“I’m struck by… this lawyer is kind of hard to watch,” Tur said. “I mean, as a layman, he’s kind of hard to watch. Is this the best the DA’s team has to put up?”

At one point, Abbate even referred to Willis as “Miss Wade.” 

The Washington Post said that at one point, it “looked like [Fani Willis] wanted to jump up and argue this case herself,” and she kept passing him notes. 

Willis looks like she knew here that it wasn’t going well with what they asked people to believe. 

Meanwhile, the defense was sharp and laid out the issues, as our sister site Townhall reported.

They also pointed out how improper it was for Willis to claim that they, the defense, were making a motion to challenge the bringing up the hiring of Wade because of race in her speech at the church when it had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the relationship between the two. Trump attorney Steve Sadow called it a violation of the rules of professional conduct.

“Can you think of anything more that would heighten public condemnation of the defendant than alleging that the defense counsel and the defendants were making their motion based on race and religion? That’s as bad as it gets in Fulton County, with all due respect,” Sadow said. 

Roman defense attorney John Merchant said,  “She put her boyfriend in the spot, paid him, and they reaped the benefits from it.” If this was allowed, he argued, the “integrity of the system would be undermined.” 

Merchant said there was also $9,200 that they couldn’t account for covering with their allegations of Willis paying back in cash for things spent on her by Wade. 

Attorney Craig Gillen for Trump co-defendant David Shafer said that Willis hadn’t provided the “receipts” that she paid back in cash.  

“What’s the only way that they can save themselves? […] ‘Pay no attention to the records, pay no attention to the airlines, into the flights, and vacations and the cruises, I paid him back in cash,'” Gillen imitated Willis. “Show us your receipts. Where did you take cash out of the bank ever? ‘I don’t have any.’ Well, show us the deposits that he had. ‘Well never, we don’t have any,'” Gillen continued. “‘Just please trust us and believe us, because it’s our only way out of the trap that they set for themselves.'”

“Prosecutors don’t act like this […] These people need to go,” Gillen said of the shadiness surrounding the financial transactions.

Defendant Robert Cheeley’s lawyer Richard Rice argued the cell phone data.

“I don’t even think lovestruck teenagers communicate that much,” Rice taunted. “Teenagers have a name for those kind of calls and this kind of escapades,” the attorney said, referring to the midnight visits Wade appears to have made to Willis’s residence.

The attorney for former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, Harry McDougald explained this had made the Fulton Count DA a “a global laughingstock” and placed an “irreparable stain” on the case. He said if they were not disqualified, they would get more things like this. 

Indeed, that’s one of the most important reasons for disqualification after all that has been revealed: maintaining the integrity of the system. 

The judge finished by saying he needed two weeks to consider the question and he said that, if any other issues came up, counsel could reach out. That, combined with his initial comment about not necessarily needing the additional evidence, might be a tell as to how he’s leaning. 

Indeed, as we reported, there was an issue with the waiter who said that he had seen Terrence Bradley with Nathan Wade about five weeks ago with Wade’s attorney at the restaurant where the waiter works. Yet, Bradley had testified this week that he hadn’t spoken to Wade in about two years. So that’s one more issue that shows how compromised this whole matter appears to have become. 


Related:

More Bad News for Fani Willis As Megyn Kelly Drops One Final Surprise in Disqualification Matter

Here Are More of Those Texts That Made Terrence Bradley Say ‘Oh, Dang,’ and More Bad News for Fani Willis 





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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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