Many on the left have become giddy at the prospect of former President Donald Trump being prosecuted in Georgia by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Yet as the Washington Examiner reported this week, Willis found herself being criticized by a state judge for her political activism.
Judge calls DA’s conduct “a what were you thinking moment”
That criticism came from Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who presides over the special grand jury inquiry looking into Trump’s actions following the 2020 election.
Specifically, McBurney took issue with Willis’ decision to help with a fundraiser last month for Charlie Bailey, a fellow Democrat who is vying for the office of lieutenant governor.
Bailey’s opponent is Republican Burt Jones, someone whom Willis has signaled is a criminal target of her investigation.
In comments quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McBurney argued that Willis’ action created the appearance of a conflict of interest.
“I don’t know that it’s an actual conflict, but … it’s a ‘what are you thinking’ moment,” the judge told Willis during a hearing on Thursday.
“If we’re trying to maintain confidence that this investigation is pursuing facts in a nonpartisan sense … that strikes me as problematic,” he continued, stressing, “The concern I’m working through is that it’s not a lowercase ‘a’ appearance.”
“It’s like a capital ‘A’ with flashy lights fundraiser with the district attorney for the political opponent of someone I’ve named a target of my investigation, where I’m the legal adviser to the grand jury, and I’m on national media almost nightly talking about this investigation,” McBurney complained, adding. “That’s problematic.”
A special grand jury tasked with investigating Trump’s post-election behavior
In January, Fox News reported that Willis asked for a special grand jury to investigate allegations that Trump broke Georgia law in his attempt to have the state’s election results overturned.
Judge Christopher S. Brasher serves as chief of the Fulton County Superior Court, and he granted the district attorney’s request.
“The special purpose grand jury shall be authorized to investigate any and all facts and circumstances relating directly or indirectly to alleged violations of the laws of the State of Georgia,” Brasher wrote.