Trump asks the appeals court to review the ruling allowing Fani Willis to remain in Georgia’s election case

(Alex Slitz/Associated Press)

Trump asks the appeals court to review the ruling allowing Fani Willis to remain in Georgia’s election case


March 29, 2024

Former President Trump and eight other defendants accused of illegally interfering in Georgia’s 2020 election filed a formal request Friday to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis remains involved in the case.

Trump and other defendants had tried to get Willis and her office off the case, saying her romantic relationship with special counsel Nathan Wade created a conflict of interest. Supreme Court Justice Scott McAfee ruled this month that there was no conflict of interest that should force Willis off the case, but said the prosecution was hampered by an appearance of impropriety.

McAfee ruled that Willis could continue her prosecution if Wade left the case, and the special prosecutor resigned hours later. Lawyers for Trump and other defendants then asked McAfee if they could appeal his ruling to the Georgia Court of Appeals, and he granted that request.

Filing a formal petition with the appeals court is the next step in that process. The Court of Appeal has 45 days to decide whether to hear the case. McAfee has said he plans to continue the case for that purpose in the meantime. He held a motion hearing Thursday.

Allegations that Willis had wrongly profited from her romance with Wade rocked the case for weeks. Details about Willis and Wade’s personal lives were aired in court in mid-February, overshadowing the serious allegations in one of four criminal cases against the Republican former president. Trump and 18 others were indicted in August, accused of participating in a vast scheme to illegally try to overturn his narrow loss in the 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia.

All defendants were charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a sweeping anti-racketeering statute. Four people charged in the case have pleaded guilty after reaching deals with prosecutors. Trump and the others have pleaded not guilty.

Willis launched the investigation in early 2021 after news broke that Trump was recorded on a January 2, 2021, phone call urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find him 11,780 votes, which would have been enough to win Georgia . Trump insisted it was “a perfect call.”

The appeal filing states that McAfee was wrong not to disqualify both Willis and Wade from the case, saying that providing D




Willis offering the option to simply remove Wade confuses logic and violates Georgia law.

According to the filing, dismissing the case is the truly appropriate remedy because the harm done to the defendants and their due process rights cannot be fully undone, even by disqualifying Willis and her office. But her disqualification is the minimum that must be done to remove the taint of her legally improper and downright unethical conduct from the rest of the case, it says.

A spokesperson for Willis declined to comment.

The allegations against Willis first emerged in a motion filed in early January by Ashleigh Merchant, a lawyer for former Trump campaign aide and former White House aide Michael Roman. The motion alleged that Willis and Wade were involved in an inappropriate romantic relationship and that Willis paid Wade large amounts of money for his work and then profited from it when he paid for lavish vacations. Willis and Wade acknowledged the relationship but said they didn’t start dating until the spring of 2022, after Wade was hired in November 2021 and their romance ended last summer. They also tested whether they split the travel costs approximately equally, with Willis often paying the expenses or reimbursing Wade in cash. Lawyers for Trump and the other defendants said this during a…

speech in mid-January at a historically black church in Atlanta

Willis had inappropriately injected race and religion into the case, biasing a future jury against the defendants. The appeal also accuses her of making an untruthful statement under oath during a hearing last month. It says these actions amount to forensic misconduct that should disqualify her. In his ruling, McAfee cited a lack of appellate guidelines on the issue of disqualifying a prosecutor for forensic misconduct, and defense attorneys argued that the appeals court should accept the appeal to set such a precedent. create. Brumback writes for the Associated Press.


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