MSNBC legal analyst predicts removal of DA Willis from Trump prosecution would be a 'death knell' for the case

 March 14, 2024

According to an MSNBC legal analyst, if Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is disqualified by a judge from her prosecution of former President Donald Trump, that would represent a "death knell" for the case overall, Fox News reported.

To be sure, that legal analyst, federal criminal defense attorney Caroline Polisi, acknowledged that the entire case against Trump and others wouldn't immediately be dismissed if Willis was removed, but rather asserted that it would lose all momentum while being reassigned to another prosecutor who may decide not to pursue it any further.

The claim on Wednesday came amid a discussion of the surprising news that Judge Scott McAfee, who will soon decide Willis' fate in relation to the Trump case, had ruled that day to dismiss six counts of "solicitation of violation of oath by public officer" that were pressed against Trump and others over a failure to provide sufficient detail and evidence in support of the charges.

Willis' removal would be the "death knell" of her anti-Trump case

According to Fox News, MSNBC host Ana Cabrera said of DA Willis' potential disqualification, "I just wonder if [McAfee] would go there. If he would dismiss charges if he’s planning to throw out the case or remove it from Fani Willis altogether as we await that decision over the question about whether there was misconduct with her relationship with Nathan Wade," a special prosecutor she hired for the anti-Trump case.

"It shouldn’t have anything to do with it," Polisi replied. "These are completely distinct legal issues, and certainly his decision on the disqualification, as we all know, does not kill the case in and of itself. He wouldn’t dismiss the indictment. It would just be reassigned to sort of a governing body in Georgia to then be reassigned."

That said, the attorney added, "I myself feel, and many other people feel that that would, in effect, essentially be the death knell for this case because, uh, you know, another time when Fani Willis was, um, removed from a case for ­-- in this very case -- for a conflict of interest, that case is still languishing at that body."

Willis was already disqualified from prosecuting a Trump ally in the case

Polisi was referring to a decision in July 2022 by Judge Robert McBurney, reported on at the time by NBC News, to disqualify Willis from her efforts to prosecute Republican State Sen. Burt Jones as a "fake elector" in the broader case against Trump and others that she was building at that time.

The disqualification came as a result of the revelation of a conflict of interest in that Willis had not only donated to but also hosted a fundraiser in support of Jones' Democratic opponent in the lieutenant governor's race, Charlie Bailey, and McBurney declared that "Any decision the district attorney makes about Senator Jones in connection with the grand jury investigation is necessarily infected by it," and added that any specific focus on Jones, even if justifiable, would cause "entirely reasonable concerns of politically motivated persecution."

Fox News noted that Polisi told MSNBC's Cabrera that the Jones case still hadn't been reassigned nearly two years later and suggested that a similar fate would befall DA Willis' prosecution of former President Trump if she were to also be disqualified from the case against him.

"I don’t know that there are many other prosecutors in the state of Georgia that would want to take on this case, that have the resources, the expertise," the defense attorney said and added, "And so, this, you know, could be sort of death by a thousand cuts for this case."

Analyst previously declared "game over" for Willis over apparent perjury

This is not the first time that Polisi has predicted the likely end of the Georgia election interference case against former President Trump, as Mediaite reported in mid-February that DA Willis' apparent lies under oath about her romantic relationship with Special Prosecutor Wade likely meant it was "game over for her."

"Don’t let the legalese fool you. This is epic. This is monumental," she said during an MSNBC appearance. "If things are going in the direction we think, Fani Willis lied to the court, it’s game over for her. She will be disqualified. If they had a relationship prior to when they represented truth to the court, it’s a huge deal. I can’t overstate."

In a statement to Mediaite, Polisi further clarified, "Willis will be disqualified, which means her entire office is disqualified, which means the case will have to be re-assigned and languish with the PAC of Georgia, effectively killing the case. Her credibility is completely shot."

The Washington Examiner reported at the time that Polisi also said of Willis on MSNBC, "If she lied to the court -- she submitted something to the court that she knew was false and inaccurate -- what else was she lying about?" and later added that the dishonesty was a "horrible look" for the prosecutor as she predicted, "The case will have to be reassigned to another prosecutor’s office. Likely it will languish there for months. I think it’s over. I think the case is over."

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