Fani Willis will skip Atlanta Press Club debate before primary

 April 26, 2024

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said she will not appear at a debate on April 29 hosted by the Atlanta Press Club to debate Christian Wise Smith, her Democrat opponent. 

The Georgia primary will take place May 21, and Willis is expected to easily beat her opponent despite recent controversy around her relationship with top prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Atlanta Press Club spokeswoman Laurie Strauss said that candidates who don't participate in the debate will  be represented by an empty podium; it is the club's policy to do so.

Her responsibility

“The Atlanta Press Club believes it is the responsibility of people running for public office to answer questions from their local media that will help inform voters before they cast their ballots,” the organization wrote in a statement released Thursday.

“If a candidate is running for public office, the candidate should be willing to participate in the democratic process, which includes attending debates and fielding questions from journalists and opponents.”

Wise Smith will still respond to questions from a panel of journalists during the scheduled debate time.

Willis said she needed to avoid the debate because of the high-profile cases she is involved with and said she isn't able to answer questions about those cases.

“We understand that she cannot insist that panelists and her opponent avoid certain subjects, and consequently, her participation means likely repeatedly being unable to respond to questions, as well as risking saying something that defense counsel could make an issue in ongoing litigation,” the statement said.

Avoiding questions

In reality, skipping the debate is a way to avoid answering any questions about her highly questionable behavior with Wade and how it has impacted those high-profile cases--even if she's not the only incumbent who doesn't show up.

It's too bad Fulton County voters don't see a reason to relieve her of her responsibilities in light of her lies about her affair with Wade and the possibility that she used campaign funds to pay Wade back in cash for expensive vacations.

Even Judge Scott McAfee said that an "odor of mendacity" remains around her actions--in other words, the case is ethically tainted going forward if Willis remains the prosecutor in charge.

Obviously, questions remain about Willis's conduct and her integrity as an official in Fulton County.

It doesn't seem possible that an elected official could get away with this and be elected again, but it seems like Democrats don't care anymore what elected officials do as long as they have a D behind their name.

Or as long as she's going after the man they think is public enemy number one: former President Donald Trump.

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Thomas Jefferson
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