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'Systematic misconduct': Defense torches Democrat DA in closing arguments of Fani Willis' ethics hearing
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'Systematic misconduct': Defense torches Democrat DA in closing arguments of Fani Willis' ethics hearing

Defense attorneys for former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case pulled out all the stops during closing arguments Friday in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' ethics hearing, torching the Black Panther's daughter for her various alleged improprieties, abuses of power, and case-compromising public remarks.

Revisiting the chief claims raised in their previous motions to disqualify, defense attorneys stressed that Willis personally benefited from her clandestine romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the man she ultimately appointed special prosecutor and whose fat checks she ultimately approved. They argued further that she prejudiced potential jurors against the defendants and perpetrated a "fraud on this court."

Craig Gillen, a defense attorney for Trump co-defendant David Shafer, echoed Trump lawyer Steve Sadow's suggestion that Willis injected race into the case through her remarks at the Bethel AME Church in Atlanta. Gillen also accused Willis and Wade of "systematic misconduct," stressing "they need to go."

Willis arrived in time to watch Adam Abbate, an attorney for the DA's office, downplay her racially-charged attacks and argue that disqualification requires proof of a conflict of interest, not just the appearance of a conflict of interest.

On the conflict of interest theme, John Merchant, defense attorney for Michael Roman, indicated Friday that $9,247 ultimately could not be accounted for in Willis and Wade's testimonies, suggesting that amounted to a personal benefit the Fulton County DA received while prosecuting the case.

Merchant argued that even the appearance of a conflict of interest justified Willis' removal as, at the very least, it undermined public confidence in the prosecution.

"They did this, they knew it was wrong, and they hid it," said Merchant.

Sadow stressed the lovers concealed their relationship from everyone. "Even daddy didn't know," he said, referencing Willis' father, who apparently had been left in the dark.

Trump's lawyer suggested that this secrecy is what prompted the lovers to go to the condo belonging to Willis' old friend and employee, Robin Yeartie, in the lead-up to Wade's appointment.

Abbate tried to cast doubt on the credibility of Yeartie's testimony. Yeartie previously told the court that it was her understanding that Wade and Willis were romantically involved as early as 2019. This claim contradicted the timeline advanced by Willis and Wade whereby the affair did not start until after Wade's appointment in November 2021.

The defense sought to enter into evidence data collected from Wade's cellphone, which reportedly reveals Wade visited Willis' residence between January and November 2021 at least 35 times, usually in the evening for "an extended period of time."

Blaze News previously reported that the data appears to indicate Wade and Willis also exchanged over 2,000 phone calls and roughly 10,000 text messages in 2021 prior to his appointment.

While Abbate argued that the phone data was inadmissible on account of foundational concerns, he suggested the records confirm that Wade never visited what was technically Willis' home prior to April 2021. The state also suggested the number of phone communications "has no validity as to it relates them being in a relationship" and may be a miscount to begin with.

McAfee said he would give the matter the consideration it deserves and provide an answer on Willis' fate sometime in the next two weeks.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News. He lives in a small town with his wife and son, moonlighting as an author of science fiction.
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