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Tags: fani willis | georgia | donald trump | evidence

Fani Willis Case Began With Illegally Obtained Evidence, Book Says

By    |   Sunday, 17 March 2024 07:18 PM EDT

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' racketeering case tied to the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump could be upended if allegations are true that the Georgia prosecutor's evidence was illegally obtained.

A recently released book on Willis' probe claims that the phone call between then-President Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger — a key piece of evidence in the indictment — was recorded illegally.

Authors Michael Isikoff and Daniel Klaidman write in "Find Me the Votes: A Hard-Charging Georgia Prosecutor, a Rogue President, and the Plot to Steal an American Election" that Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs taped the conference call.

"Find Me the Votes" says Fuchs recorded the call to protect Raffensberger from possible false claims Trump might make about the conversation.

But Fuchs, the authors say, made the recording while out of state in Florida.

Florida, however, is a two-party consent state, making it potentially illegal for one party, such as Fuchs, to have recorded another without approval.

Juscelino Colares, a law and political science professor at Case Western Reserve University, said Trump's legal team could argue that the recording should be excluded from the case because it was illegally obtained.

"They could make that argument in an attempt to exclude the recording," he said.

A tape of the 62-minute phone call, which also included Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows; Trump's attorney, Cleta Mitchell; Raffensperger's general counsel, Ryan Germany; and Trump's Georgia-based attorney, Kurt Hilbert; among others was leaked to The Washington Post by Fuchs.

The Post's exclusive headline read: "'I just want to find 11,780 votes': In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor."

The paper characterized the conversation as Trump urging Raffensperger to "find" votes to overturn the election results.

On the tape Trump repeats his assertion there is "no way I lost Georgia."

The book, written by two liberal journalists who have been critical of Trump, praises Willis and her effort to prosecute Trump.

The authors wrote, "In the moment, Fuchs decided she would protect the boss. Without telling Raffensperger or Meadows, she taped the call."

A footnote, buried on page 196 of the 331-page book, essentially details how Fuchs' recording of the call was illegal.

"Fuchs has never talked publicly about her taping of the phone call; she learned, after the fact, that Florida where she was at the time is one of fifteen states that requires two-party consent for the taping of phone calls," the footnote states.

The authors also wrote that "a lawyer for Raffensperger's office asked the January 6 committee not to call her as a witness for reasons the committee's lawyers assumed were due to her potential legal exposure. The committee agreed."

It continued to state that when Fuchs was called before a Fulton County special grand jury convened by Willis, "she was granted immunity and confirmed the taping, according to three sources with direct knowledge of her testimony."

The Georgia Secretary of State's office did not respond to emails for comment from Newsmax.

Harvard University Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said whether Fuchs was granted immunity has nothing to do with whether the call can be admitted in the court case.

He said there is no federal law on whether illegally obtained evidence can be used in a court case.

"Some states say yes; some states say no," he said. "Jurisdictions differ on whether illegally obtained tapings can be admitted."

Georgia code 16-11-67, which addresses wiretapping, eavesdropping, surveillance, and the admissibility of evidence, states: "No evidence obtained in a manner which violates any of the provisions of this part shall be admissible in any court of this state except to prove violations of this part."

The book cites the leaked recording as the one piece of evidence that Willis needed to build her case.

"It was all the evidence Fani Willis needed to get started," they wrote.

Later, they added that the recording was the "single piece of damning evidence that had launched the investigation."

Trump's legal team did not respond to Newsmax's request for comment on questions involving the recording.

While Fuchs may have immunity in the Peach State, it is possible she could face prosecution in the Sunshine State, where the alleged crime was committed.

"Florida can go after Fuchs," Colares said. "Florida definitely has territorial claims to make that charge."

The book footnote contends that even if a Florida prosecutor elected to bring a case against Fuchs, it would be a first offense and a misdemeanor charge.

The authors also argue that Fuchs would have an "effective defense" because Florida law "grants an exemption for law enforcement purposes."

"As an enforcer of Georgia election laws, the secretary of state's office is a law enforcement agency," the footnote states.

Florida's attorney general did not respond to Newsmax's request for comment on whether they would consider charging Fuchs for the illegal recording.

Marisa Herman

Marisa Herman, a Newsmax senior reporter, focuses on major and investigative stories. A University of Florida graduate, she has more than a decade of experience as a reporter for newspapers, magazines, and websites.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' racketeering case tied to the 2020 election against former President Donald Trump could be upended if allegations are true that the Georgia prosecutor's evidence was illegally obtained. 
fani willis, georgia, donald trump, evidence
Sunday, 17 March 2024 07:18 PM
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