Georgia lawyer Andrew Fleischman on Tuesday published an opinion piece in the left-leaning Daily Beast that said Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should resign if the allegations she took steps to benefit a special prosecutor and romantic partner are true.
Fleischman, a partner at Sessions & Fleischman, wrote in his piece, titled: “Why We Can’t Just Shrug Off the Fani Willis Scandal”:
If the DA prosecuting Trump prolonged an investigation to justify a hefty salary for a romantic partner, that is a genuine conflict of interest that would require her dismissal.
He wrote if the allegations that Willis — who is prosecuting former President Donald Trump in Fulton County — hired special prosecutor Nathan Wade — a man she was allegedly dating, and paid him nearly $700,000 and received vacations in return, she should be fired.
He noted Willis has not disputed the allegations. He wrote:
After the allegations were made public, Willis gave a speech decrying the expectation that black women be perfect, and comparing herself to Martin Luther King, Jr.—who was also tormented over his personal life by his political enemies. She claimed that Wade’s race, and not his limited criminal litigation experience, was the basis of public skepticism, and noted that people had not scrutinized the other two special prosecutors, who are white, about their credentials.
Fleischman argued while the other two special prosecutors are “incredibly qualified,” they earn less than Wade, writing:
…Anna Cross is a former DeKalb County assistant district attorney who handled dozens of felony appeals and argued important motions for Fulton County. John Floyd is widely considered Georgia’s leading expert on state RICO prosecutions and helped draft the law. Combined, they billed $116,000 (less than a quarter of Wade’s total). And according to an agreement obtained by the Daily Caller, Floyd appears to have been paid about $100 less per hour than Wade.
Fleischman dismissed Willis’s argument that Wade was competent because he had been hired as special counsel by a white Republican when Cobb County hired him to conduct an investigation into jail deaths.
He noted, “…a local news station successfully argued that the investigation was only launched to prevent the public from filing open records requests into the deaths.”
Fleischman also noted Wade filed divorce papers from his wife the day after Willis hired him.
He also noted Wade filed papers to divorce his wife the day after Willis hired him.
“But even if he were indisputably the best person possible for the role, he was paid $654,000, and Willis made choices throughout her prosecution that seem, in hindsight, calculated to require him,” he wrote.
Fleischmanbn — no fan of Trump — said Willis’s hiring of Wade to gather evidence was rare and likely delayed trying Trump before the November election.
“…Wade was broadly used during those special grand jury proceedings, and he earned hundreds of thousands of dollars helping to conduct them. We now see the price of those delays, as Fulton County struggles to try the former president before the November election,” he wrote.
Fleischman also noted Willis’s shaky record on conflicts of interest, writing that in 2022, a superior court judge disqualified Fulton County from presiding over the prosecution of Lt. Governor Burt Jones because Fani Willis endorsed his political opponent, Democrat Charlie Bailey.
.@repmtg hopes Gov. Brian Kemp will respond to the bombshell accusations against Sloppy Fani Willis: “This isn’t political at all… If he ignores this, then he’s showing an extreme political bias.” https://t.co/BY2iEQoJwZ— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 12, 2024
“In the order, the judge notes that there was an ‘actual’ conflict of interest. … the conflict is actual because any public criminal investigation into [then-]Senator Jones plainly benefits Bailey’s campaign, of which the district Attorney is an open… supporter,” he wrote.
The standard to disqualify Fulton County here is not whether Fani Willis actually made her decisions to benefit Nathan Wade. It’s plausible that she would have made the exact same choices without the personal relationship. But if her choices to extend or prolong the investigation benefit a romantic partner, who is paying for her meals and vacations, that is an actual conflict.
Fleischman noted that when a Georgia judge was found having sex with a public defender outside the courthouse, the courts found that this sexual contact required new trials for the accused.
“Just as here, the guilt or innocence of those accused was irrelevant. The conflict of interest required a new trial,” he wrote.
He predicted that Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee in February would likely disqualify Willis and her entire office, which would make it difficult to try Trump before the 2024 election.
“But even if everything goes as smoothly as humanly possible, it is difficult to imagine trying the former president before the November election. And it’s also possible the case may go to someone who will choose to dismiss it,” he said.