Judge criticizes Fani Willis’ ecclesiastical speech in ruling

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By journalsofus.com


Judge McAfee mentioned Willis’ previous comments at Big Bethel AME Church in a ruling Friday.

ATLANTA – Community members are responding after a Fulton County judge warned he could issue a gag order against District Attorney Fani Willis in the future and criticized comments she previously made at a church.

on Friday decision On whether to disqualify Willis from the 2020 Georgia election interference case, Judge Scott McAfee said he did not find that Willis’ relationship with special counsel Nathan Wade amounted to a conflict of interest that should disqualify her from the case.

He ended up offering him two options: either he could step aside, along with the entire District Attorney’s Office, and refer the case to the District Attorney’s Council for reassignment, or Wade could withdraw from the case.

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Wade ended up tendering his resignation that same day, but in addition to the overall ruling, McAfee took the time to mention a speech Willis gave in January at Big Bethel AME Church.

Willis was honored as part of the church’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration service and used her time in the pulpit to address the congregation about the audience and the challenges she has faced both personally and professionally.

“I appointed three special counsels as is my right to do so, but they only attacked one,” Willis said at the time.

McAfee wrote in his ruling that Willis’ comments at the church about the case were “legally inappropriate” and warned of a possible gag order against Willis in the future.

“Providing this type of public comment creates dangerous waters for the district attorney to wade deeper into,” McAfee wrote.

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Now, people are talking both inside and outside the church about the judge’s ruling and the comments on Willis’ speech.

For example, parishioner Keith Burnett said he was there the day Willis gave his speech and was moved.

“She talked about demons. She spoke of darkness. “She talked about the fact that she’s doing her job and did everything she could to choose the right people,” Burnett said.

Burnett also said he thought the judge’s decision to allow Willis to remain on the case depending on whether Wade resigned or not was fair.

“I felt like his decision was the right one because people on the other side took it as a moral thing and it wasn’t,” Burnett said.

Additionally, Emory law associate professor John Acevedo said he was a little surprised the judge took the time to address Willis’s earlier comments.

“I was surprised that he admonished her in the church because it was not directly about these defendants,” Acevedo said.

Acevedo said he felt the judge’s criticism of comments Willis made at the church was unnecessary, but he admired the way the judge ruled.

“I think his decision really reflects his desire to put an end to the distractions in this case,” Acevedo said.

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