Georgia court grants Trump’s appeal to disqualify DA Fani Willis in Georgia election case

Close up of inscription above entrance to Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Georgia in downtown Atlanta^ GA^ USA
Close up of inscription above entrance to Supreme Court and Court of Appeal of Georgia in downtown Atlanta^ GA^ USA

Georgia’s Court of Appeals said on Wednesday that it will consider an appeal from former President Donald Trump on a lower court ruling’s decision to not disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis, who is overseeing the 2020 election interference racketeering trial against Trump and alleged co-conspirators. The Georgia Court of Appeals issued a brief order granting Trump’s request, saying that he can file a notice of appeal within the next 10 days; it’s unclear when arguments will be held.   The DA’s office declined to comment.

Trump attorney Steve Sadow said in a statement on social media that the court granted Trump’s appeal of Judge Scott McAfee’s decision to allow Willis to continue leading the prosecution, and that the case should be dismissed and Willis disqualified: “President Trump looks forward to presenting interlocutory arguments to the Georgia Court of Appeals as to why the case should be dismissed and Fulton County DA Willis should be disqualified for her misconduct in this unjustified, unwarranted political persecution.” 

Judge McAfee ruled in mid-March that Willis shouldn’t be disqualified from prosecuting Trump and his co-defendants despite their allegation that she had a conflict of interest in the case. They accused Willis of misconduct, alleging she financially benefited from her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, which led to days of testimony in court about their romance. McAfee ultimately decided found the “appearance of impropriety” created by their personal relationship should result in either Willis or Wade leaving the case. Hours later, Willis’ office confirmed Wade had resigned and she had accepted his resignation.

McAfee granted a certificate of immediate review days later, giving Trump and eight of his co-defendants permission to appeal his decision to keep Willis on the case. This gave the court of appeals 45 days to decide whether to hear an appeal on the matter. Lawyers for Trump and the other defendants then asked the appeals court to allow them to challenge the ruling.

The appeals court decision Wednesday comes as Trump continues to sit for trial in the criminal case he faces in New York; one of four criminal cases against him going to trial.

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