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Trump Legal News, Part II: It's All About the Benjamins?

There isn't likely to be any news out of Scott McAfee's courtroom this week, since the Judge hasn't yet scheduled the final arguments about Fani Willis' conduct, much less had whatever time he needs to make a decision. Nonetheless, it's such a big story, journalists are looking under rocks for something, anything to report. And CNN correspondent Zachary Cohen came up with something pretty important.

As chance would have it, Cohen did a somewhat recent interview with a man named Stan Brody. Brody, in turn, helps run one of the vineyards that Willis visited with Nathan Wade. And when it came time to settle the bill, the Fulton County DA chose not to use a credit card, and instead peeled off several hundred-dollar bills to cover the nearly $400 tab.

On one hand, the odds of finding anyone to corroborate Willis' claims about paying cash for things were pretty long, because just the right set of circumstances have to fall into place (it's no good, for example, if she gives Wade $1,000 in their hotel room). On the other hand, now that there actually is a witness, he certainly seems to be pretty credible. He has no real reason to lie, and it's plausible that the incident would stand out in his memory, since paying tabs that large in cash is fairly unusual. Nevertheless, there are also people who just don't like being tracked by their bank in everything they do and thus prefer using cash where that is feasible.

On a personal note, (Z) will also add that there really are people who prefer to deal in cash, even in the era of electronic transactions. He knows, because his father was one of them. On the day that (Z) Sr. died, he had $5,000 in hundreds in his pocket, which was not unusual for him at all. (Z) never really learned what the underlying reason was. Part of it was that (Z) Sr. liked to go to casinos and gamble, and you have to have cash for that. But that wasn't the whole reason, since he did it even in years where there were no casinos nearby (e.g., the 1980s, before Indian casinos became a thing in California).

Anyhow, the case against Willis now has three problems. The big one is that she pretty clearly didn't do anything that harmed the defendants. In addition, the only evidence that her relationship with Wade predated their work together comes from someone with a potential agenda. And finally, the hardest-to-corroborate part of Willis' testimony now has some actual corroboration. McAfee is really going to have to stand on his head if he wants to remove her from the case. That said, in a world with judges like Aileen Cannon and Clarence Thomas, who stand on their head so often they could run away and join the circus, you have to be prepared for anything. (Z)

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