Judge McAfee Ruling Is The Latest Blow to Public Trust in Government

Pew tells us that in seven decades of polling, public trust in our federal government has reached a new low, with only 16 percent expressing belief that they will “do what is right.” This number compares to nearly three-quarters of Americans who expressed such trust in 1958 when the National Election Study began asking the question. Trust had reached a three-decade high following 9/11, but the last decade has taken a sharp toll on governmental credibility. Why?

Quite simply, of late, the unbelievability of the government’s positions and actions has escalated significantly:

  • We are supposed to believe that the southern border is secure, the millions of impoverished, military-age males flowing into our country pose no threat to our economy, culture, or national security, and the only people opposed to this invasion are racists.
  • We are supposed to believe America is a fundamentally, systemically racist country.
  • We are supposed to believe a new economic principle (clearly not from the Chicago School of Economics) holding that paying the same price for a smaller bag of Doritos is intrinsically different from and somehow more sinister than paying a higher price for the same size bag of Doritos. (The latter might well be the result of inflation while the former is clearly some type of fraud.)
  • We are supposed to believe that our withdrawal from Afghanistan was a well-planned and brilliant success, not one of the worst military and foreign relations disasters in our lifetimes.
  • We are supposed to believe that DEI is a far better rubric than merit for making all our institutions—even our military—better.
  • We are supposed to believe that it is perfectly fair and right for biological male athletes to compete against biological females—despite the former being dramatically overrepresented in winners’ circles.

This list could go on for pages, but some of the examples are far weightier than others. The Russia Hoax, arguably the most corrupt, treasonous scandal ever orchestrated by the cabal of governmental agencies, opposition party, and media, delivered a massive body blow to government credibility. The COVID scandals—from identifying origination to lockdowns to the efficacy of the vaccines—and the Hunter Biden laptop scandal fully exposed in the Twitter Files release were a one/two punch combination that left government credibility on teetering legs. The knockout blow may well be the open lawfare being waged and escalated by the DOJ against anyone and anything that appears to threaten Democrat/Administration power.

Many Americans had been hopeful that, when push came to shove, the courts would stand strong against the outlandish performance art arrests and show trials of President Trump, his associates, conservatives, and anyone else perceived as a political threat. But it is becoming clear that there are legions of politicized prosecutors, governmental service personnel with badges and guns, courts, judges, and juries—and very few of the lawfare cases can make it all the way to the Supreme Court. Further, even if they do, the damage has already been done. As Mark Steyn puts it, referring to the Michael Mann trial and travesty, “the process is the punishment.”

Last week, Judge McAfee’s ruling in the Georgia racketeering against President Trump and associates contributed to the lawfare farce. The District Attorney, Fani Willis, hired and paid her boyfriend, Nathan Wade, some $650k for his services as lead prosecutor despite his complete lack of experience with much beyond traffic cases. Wade used that money to purchase expensive dinners, hotels, and exotic vacations for both of them. Willis claims she repaid him in cash despite the absence of a receipt or notation for any of it.

There was plenty of sordid testimony about Willis’ unprofessional conduct, poor decision-making, and romantic relationship with Wade—much of that testimony coming from Willis and Wade themselves. This was despite the fact that Willis had repeatedly pledged in her 2020 campaign, “I will certainly not be choosing to date people that work under me.”

Both Willis and Wade testified that their relationship began only after Willis indicted President Trump. Circumstantial evidence challenging this claim includes court documents showing that Willis and Wade exchanged just under 12,000 texts and phone calls before that indictment. Additional cellphone location data also showed that Wade had visited Willis’ South Atlanta neighborhood at least 35 times before she hired him—although he testified that he had been there fewer than 10 times during that period.

Some experts believe Willis could be prosecuted for any number of crimes ranging from Violation of Public Oath (Ga. Code Ann., § 16-10-1) to Improper Influence of a Government Official (Ga. Code Ann., § 16-10-5) to, ironically, Racketeering (Ga. Code Ann., §§ 16-14-1 through 12).

In his ruling, Judge McAfee described an “odor of mendacity” surrounding the Willis/Wade relationship, Wade’s “patently unpersuasive explanation for the inaccurate interrogatories he submitted in his pending divorce,” and his belief in a willingness on Wade’s part “to wrongly conceal his relationship with the District Attorney.” Further,

This Court finds that it can - and indeed must - consider the appearance of impropriety as a basis for a state prosecutor’s disqualification, especially in recognition of the critical role that the prosecutor plays in the criminal-justice system.” He further asserts that “… reasonable questions about whether the District Attorney and her hand-selected lead SADA testified untruthfully about the timing of their relationship further underpin the finding of an appearance of impropriety and the need to make proportional efforts to cure it.

Nonetheless, while the judge ruled that Wade needed to be removed from the case, he failed to issue the same remedy for Willis. Instead, he gave her options for how to proceed, including remaining on the case without Wade if she wished.

Consider the hypocrisy here. Judge McAfee makes two important points quite clearly in his ruling: 1) That the appearance of impropriety is sufficient grounds for disqualification of the prosecutor; and 2) That he believes Wade testified untruthfully (i.e., that he is lying). Therefore, he tacitly admitted that Willis, who was fully supportive of Wade’s testimony in her own testimony, is every bit as unbelievable and every bit as involved in the appearance of impropriety as Wade. In short, if he disbelieves Wade, he must disbelieve Willis. Yet he offers no reference to, much less any reasoning for distinguishing between Wade’s disqualification and Willis’s remaining on the case.

Is this just a logical flaw on the part of a man supposedly educated and steeped in logic? Or is there some other motivation in play? Unfortunately, with the aforementioned events as a backdrop, most Americans will rightly suspect the latter. Accordingly, expect yet further erosion of public trust in our government to do the right thing.

Image: Judge McAfee. X screen grab.

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