Updated: Wood now claims he hasn’t flipped on Trump, but he acknowledges he’s testifying for the prosecution. Now that Fulton County DA Fani Willis has revealed in a court filing that Lin Wood is a witness for the prosecution, it’s understandably raised some questions about his deal. Some of you are asking if he’s going to be a reliable witness. After all, his rhetoric during 2020 was unhinged beyond the pale. How’s he going to function on a witness stand?
There are a few things here to keep in mind. First, Fani Willis knows exactly who Lin Wood is. She certainly interviewed him before giving him a deal. And she clearly believes that he’ll be suitable as a witness. So if you trust her judgment in general, then you have to trust her judgment on this.
The defense can try entering Wood’s previous unhinged statements as evidence against his credibility, but there are limits to what the judge will allow the jury to hear. And keep in mind that jury screening processes are set up to ensure that the people on the trial jury didn’t sit there and watch the January 6th saga unfold on TV. This jury will consist of people who don’t follow politics and have no idea who Wood even is. If his testimony is coherent, it’ll work out fine.
Further, if there is corroboration of Wood’s version of events – such as emails, or documents, or other witnesses – then the prosecutor doesn’t really have to worry about whether the trial jury is going to see Wood as credible. When a criminal underling flips on a crime boss, it’s generally understood that the criminal underling has probably said and done some bad things too. No jury is expecting a flipper to be a saint.
If Wood does go off the deep end and ends up giving testimony that’s either the opposite of what he promised Willis, or just plain incoherent, it’s not going to magically help Trump. It would simply invalidate Wood as a witness, and Willis has plenty of other witnesses. Wood would then go to prison for even longer than if he hadn’t cut a deal to begin with. Wood knows this.
It’s also worth pointing out that a lot of these leading right wing voices aren’t nearly as “nuts” as they want us to believe. A lot of it is simply performance art, in a calculated attempt at appealing to the kinds of bottom feeders and broken losers who tend to make up right wing audiences. They can be an entirely different person the minute the cameras are off and there’s no one to perform for. We don’t know if Lin Wood is legitimately unhinged or if it’s all been an act. But unlike all of us, Fani Willis and her team have been having actual conversations with Wood of late, and they know what they’re getting.
The kicker is that because Lin Wood’s rhetoric over the past couple years has been so disturbingly over the top, a lot of observers had put him in the “too nuts to ever flip” category. But it turns out he cut a cooperation deal before almost any other targets did. If even Lin Wood has cut a deal against Trump, it means there are no limits as to who else might flip on Trump – or who else might have flipped on Trump already
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report