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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Georgia Court of Appeals Hands Donald Trump a Major Victory by Placing His RICO and Election Interference Case on an Indefinite Hold

By: Donald V. Watkins

Copyrighted and Published on June 5, 2024

IMAGE: District Attorney Fani Willis (left), with Donald Trump (right)

An Editorial Opinion


Donald Trump is smiling tonight!


Earlier today, the Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia issued an order indefinitely staying the criminal RICO and election interference case against Donald Trump and several of his co-defendants. The stay will remain in effect until a panel of appellate judges decides whether Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis can remain as the prosecutor on the case.


This ruling constitutes a death knell blow to Willis' case against Trump. It signals that Trump will likely win his motion to remove Willis from the case when the Court issues a final ruling on the matter next year.


On March 15, 2024, Fulton County, Georgia Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled that Willis can continue to prosecute the 2020 election interference and RICO case against Trump and his co-defendants if special prosecutor Nathan Wade (and boyfriend) was removed from the case. Wade stepped down from the case the next day.

 

Judge McAfee was highly critical of Willis' and Wade’s romantic relationship, describing it as being the result of “bad choices.”  He also described Willis’ fiery testimony last month during one of the hearings over whether to disqualify her as “unprofessional.”

 

McAfee said special prosecutor Wade must step aside if District Attorney Fani Willis remains on the case in order to dispel the “cloud of impropriety” created by their romantic relationship.

 

McAfee also rebuked Wade for what he said was a "patently unpersuasive explanation for the inaccurate interrogatories" the special prosecutor submitted in divorce proceedings, which the judge said indicated a willingness to "wrongly conceal" his relationship with Willis.

 

"An outsider could reasonably think that the district attorney is not exercising her independent professional judgment totally free of any compromising influences.  As long as Wade remains on the case, this unnecessary perception will persist," McAfee wrote.

 

McAfee found that while he was not able to "conclusively establish" when Wade's and Willis' relationship turned romantic, "an odor of mendacity remains."  Defense lawyers argued the romantic relationship predated Wade's hiring, and the timeline emerged as a key issue during evidentiary hearings last month.

 

"Reasonable questions about whether the District Attorney and her hand-selected lead SADA [Nathan Wade] testified untruthfully about the timing of their relationship further underpin the finding of an appearance of impropriety and the need to make proportional efforts to cure it," McAfee wrote.


All of the legal wrangling in this case about Willis' conduct as a prosecutor is likely an exercise in futility, as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to grant Donald Trump presidential immunity for any and all criminal acts he may have committed while serving as president. The Court's ruling on the immunity issue is expected on or before June 22nd. All of the criminal acts alleged in the Georgia indictment occurred while Trump was a sitting president.

 

A copy of today's one-page Order may be read here. In the unlikely event Trump loses his appeal in the Georgia Court of Appeals when it issues a final decision in 2025 on the Willis disqualification issue, he can appeal the decision to the Trump-friendly, MAGA-dominated Georgia Supreme Court. If Trump lose there, he can further appeal this issue to the Trump-friendly, MAGA-dominated U.S. Supreme Court.


For all practical purposes, Willis' criminal case against Donald Trump is over. Trump won the case on a disqualification issue involving an undisclosed romantic relationship between two naive and inexperienced prosecutors who enjoyed a brief flash of glory in the biggest criminal case in American history. This was a self-inflicted defeat for Willis and Wade.


If Donald Trump wins the 2024 presidential election, Fani Willis and Nathan Wade can expect to experience the same kind of political retribution from the U.S. Department of Justice that former Baltimore District Attorney Marilyn Mosby is currently experiencing in the aftermath of her unsuccessful criminal prosecutions of the police officers who killed Freddie Gray.


"If you go after me, I’m coming after you!," said Donald Trump in a social media post last August. Those who are close to Trump say he meant what he said.


Stay tuned!

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Donald V. Watkins
Donald V. Watkins
Jun 06

To win a stay of the proceedings, the moving party (Donald Trump) had to show a likelihood of success on the merits of his motion seeking Fani Willis' removal from his RICO and election interference case. Trump apparently met this burden of proof.

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livingtho2
Jun 06

It is interesting that a convicted felon less than four years ago, attempted to overturn a fair election in a state that should've tried, convicted, and sentenced him first. This is not justice but more a show of power and preeminence.


I'm throughly convinced if barriers weren't thrown in the path of Fani Willis, she would've tried Trump and got a conviction against him for racketeering. This is Georgia a state that fuels on white supremacy and governance. Considering the fact Fani Willis in District Attorney of the Fulton County District, she's revered by the power structure as no more than an affirmative action test and should be grateful to serve in this capacity.


Although I'm not a politician, nor…


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