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Fani Willis Will Take over Trump's Case Herself

Donald Trump has appealed the ruling by Judge Scott McAfee, the one that said that Fulton County DA Fani Willis can remain on the Georgia RICO case provided that her former boyfriend, Nathan Wade, resign from the case (which Wade did). It probably wasn't that painful to go for him since he earlier said that he was making more money in private practice than working for the state of Georgia. There is no reason to think the appeals court will overrule McAfee since although entangling professional business and romance is a bit icky, it doesn't violate the state's strict ethics laws. Also, since Wade has no experience as a prosecutor, Trump can't claim that having Wade on the prosecution team somehow put Trump at an unfair disadvantage. Actually, Trump would have been better off with Wade than with some experienced prosecutor from Willis' office.

Of course, and as usual, Trump doesn't really care if he wins or loses the appeal. He is merely stalling for time, hoping to move the trial beyond the election. Maybe he thought that Willis would have to find a new lead prosecutor and it would take months for that person to get up to speed. Oops. Bad bet. Willis has decided to be the lead prosecutor herself. She has plenty of experience handling complex RICO cases, whereas Wade has none. So Trump's attempt to get rid of Wade and/or Willis has backfired. Instead of a prosecutor (Wade) whose actual expertise is in personal injuries, contracts, divorces, and criminal defense, Trump is going to get a battle-tested expert in RICO law with years of experience as a prosecutor.

Since Willis has been on the case since the beginning, she doesn't need to get up to speed. She is already going 100 MPH. She is now working on the nuts and bolts of the trial strategy, including who to call as witnesses, which documents to present, and how she will present her case to the jury. She is also thinking about how to make it clear to the jurors that the future of democracy is at stake in this case, which makes it more abstract than a murder or gang prosecution case.

She is also thinking closely about what her role will be in the trial. She is considering making the opening statements herself and also doing the cross examination of the witnesses herself. She has almost 20 years' experience as an assistant DA or DA and has successfully prosecuted RICO cases before. In 2015, she handled a case in which 12 educators were accused of correcting answers on standardized tests to make their school look better. She got convictions in 11 of the cases. File this one under: "Be careful what you wish for; you might get it." (V)

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