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Trump dodges another legal bullet

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Welp:

An Atlanta judge on Friday ruled that Fani T. Willis, the Fulton Country district attorney, could continue leading the prosecution of former President Donald J. Trump and his allies in Georgia, but only if her former romantic partner, Nathan J. Wade, withdraws from the case.

The ruling by Judge Scott McAfee of Fulton Superior Court cut a middle path between removing Ms. Willis for a conflict of interest, which defense lawyers had sought, and her full vindication. The judge sharply criticized her for engaging in a relationship with Mr. Wade, whom she hired as a special prosecutor on the case, calling it a “tremendous lapse in judgment.”

With delays mounting, the case is now unlikely to come to trial before the 2024 presidential election, when Mr. Trump is almost certain to be the Republican nominee.

A friend of mine who is a long-time resident of the Atlanta legal community was telling me a year ago that Willis’s prosecution was likely to collapse into some combination of scandal and incompetence.

The November election will decide, among many other things, whether Donald Trump stays out of prison and remains functionally solvent, to the extent he still is.

Expecting the courts to save the nation between now and then was always a wan hope, but this kind of massive own-goal helps Trump more than not prosecuting him at all would have.

Fani Willis’s political career is over, but that’s no consolation to everyone trying to keep what’s left of liberal democracy in this country from collapsing into frank ethno-nationalist authoritarianism, with a side of non-stop grifting.

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