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“It’s a lie! It’s a lie!” Those words from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis captured the bombastic testimony of the prosecutor accused of violating a host of local and ethical rules by hiring Nathan Wade, a former lover. Willis’ sudden appearance in the courtroom seemed like a new version of Perry Mason as he stormed the stand with a look of pure lethality. He proceeded to denounce the media, prosecutors, and an ex-girlfriend for varying levels of betrayal.

At times, though, Willis looked strikingly like the man he is prosecuting: Donald Trump. Like Trump, he defied the court’s calls to limit his answers and answer questions. He attacked critics of him, including the media, with tirades that virtually ignored questions. However, unlike Trump, she got her way.

Willis was allowed to ad-lib at length about the “collusion” of lawyers who conspired against her and how “these people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020.”

Judge Scott McAfee, who had been doing an excellent job controlling the courtroom, appeared to cede control to Willis as she rambled on about dating women, the value of hoarding cash and negotiating with foreign taxi drivers.

He is also accused of extrajudicial statements that distorted the case. Sounds familiar?

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In Trump’s case, judges repeatedly punished him with contempt sanctions, struck down his testimony and barred his discussion of certain defenses. He was fined for his extrajudicial statements.

With Willis, McAfee politely nudged him to limit his responses and warned him that the court might have to intervene. He never did. Willis seemed to control the tenor and the testimony under a clearly exhausted McAfee called it a day.

Outside the court, many on the left celebrated his combative and confrontational style. Where Trump was unhinged, Willis was unfazed. While Trump’s anger was menacing, Willis’s anger was righteous.

That’s not the only time Trump comes to mind after Wade and Willis took the stand.

JUDGE INTERVENES AS GEORGIA GIVES COMBATIVE TESTIMONY ON RELATIONSHIP WITH TRUMP’S PROSECUTOR

In the Georgia prosecutor’s office, Willis is relying heavily on a taped conversation of Trump with Georgia election officials as they discussed what Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger described as a discussion to reach a deal on allegations of Trump election fraud. Trump wanted a recount and officials insisted he probably wouldn’t produce enough votes to make a difference. Trump insisted that “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”

Critics insist that Trump was clearly pressuring officials to simply make up the votes when he pressured them to “find” the votes. Trump maintains that he was saying there weren’t many votes to be found across the state to potentially change the outcome.

In the end, critics dismiss any other meaning of “find” as a game of semantics.

However, both Wade and Willis had their own keyword issues at Thursday’s hearing.

Wade faced apparently false sworn statements made in interrogations related to his divorce case. For example, she was asked about her denial of “a sexual relationship during the time of her marriage and separation” as of May 30, 2023. That would seem clear. It is now also confirmed that he had a sexual relationship with Willis in 2022 at the earliest.

Wade, however, insisted that he considered the question to be limited to sexual relations “in the course of my marriage.” The fact that the question was clearly about any sexual relationship until May 30, 2023 did not matter to the lead prosecutor in the Georgia election case.

Willis then offered his own semantic twists. He was asked about local rules that prohibit paying or employing family members or close friends. Willis stated that he viewed Wade not as an employee but as a contractor or “agent.”

Willis added another semantic twist when faced with another rule that prohibited receiving a total of more than $100 from an employee or contractor. Willis just said that while he may have accepted more than $100 from Wade, he ultimately broke even because he bought him things. Both, however, insisted that they traded primarily in cash, without receipts or records.

Fani Willis, Fulton County Prosecutor

Fani Willis, Fulton County Prosecutor (Getty Images)

Wade and Willis consider such keyword interpretations fair game. However, an alternative meaning of what is meant by the word “find” is clearly not only unreasonable but constitutes a basis for prosecution.

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None of this is likely to end the Georgia case. Even if Wade and Willis were disqualified, the court would likely allow the case to move forward under the direction of their subordinates. Furthermore, Willis may have managed to give McAfee enough to condemn his conduct but reject his disqualification.

If so, the court would ignore the fact that both Wade and Willis are accused of making false statements not only in their testimony this week but also in previous filings. They would be allowed to prosecute defendants in the Georgia case accused of making false statements in other case filings.

In the end, Willis knew his audience. He knew that the judge would probably allow him to control his own testimony. He knew that many in the public would consider his combative testimony as justified and even inspiring. The most important thing is that he knew that he is not Trump and, for many, that is enough.

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By Sam