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‘Gift For Trump’: CNN Panel Says Judge Tossing Counts Puts Team ‘Exactly Where They Want To Be’

A CNN panel on Thursday characterized a Fulton County judge’s decision to toss six counts in the indictment against former President Donald Trump as a “gift” that benefits him legally and politically.

Judge Scott McAfee, who is expected to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will be disqualified from the case over an alleged conflict of interest by Friday, sided with defendants in a motion to throw out six counts due to a lack of specificity rendering the defense unable to prepare adequately. The panel on “CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta,” which included national correspondent Kristen Holmes and legal correspondent Paula Reid, said Trump and his team received a boost from the judge’s decision.

“At any time we’re hearing the judge could announce if he’s disqualifying Fani Willis from being the district attorney in this case. I mean, Kristen, the Trump team, not only the legal team, but the campaign team must be waiting with bated breath to see what happens here,” host Jim Acosta said. “I mean, this is the case where he had the mug shot. Can you imagine if she gets tossed off this case?”


“Also remember, this is the case where he’s been kind of talking smack about Fani Willis for months and now she’s the one in the hot seat,” Holmes responded. “And this is exactly where they want to be. I got a lot of questions yesterday about how does Donald Trump’s team feel about the fact that they dropped some of these charges. It’s like, well they’re very happy obviously, but he’s still being charged. What they want is for District Attorney Fani Willis to be thrown off the case.”

Trump co-defendant Michael Roman accused Willis in a Jan. 8 motion of financially benefiting from appointing her romantic partner Nathan Wade as special prosecutor for the case. She may be referred to the bar even if the judge does not disqualify her, legal experts have said.

“And even if she’s not, he wins either way here,” Reid said. “If she’s disqualified, the case survives, but it‘s handed off to another prosecutor’s office. They‘ll have to decide if they want to add charges, fix these issues that McAfee flagged or dismiss it altogether. The one thing we know is there’s no way the case would go before the election.”

“But even if she’s not disqualified, this is a gift for Trump because this is about optics, this is about trust in the judicial system. And here he can continue to remind people about this romantic relationship, about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Nathan Wade has been paid to investigate him. Intelligent minds can disagree about whether that’s the market rate, but to the average voter, this does raise questions about the integrity of the judicial system and not for Trump. Again, either way, disqualified or not, it’s a gift.”

CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig on Wednesday asserted the judge’s decision definitely hurt Willis’ case against Trump.

“Unlike the conflict of interest issue, this does go to the charges against the defendant,” Honig asserted. “This does go to the indictment itself. And there is still the case. The lead charge, the racketeering case, is still in place, but this is a setback.”

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