Trump Blindsides Fani Willis With New Appeal

Written by: Clayton Keirns



Time to read 2 min

Former President Donald Trump, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and six other defendants filed appeals on Monday in Georgia's election interference case. They are challenging a judge's decision to allow Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to continue prosecuting the case, despite the controversy involving special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

The defendants argue that the resignation of Wade, who had the romantic relationship with Willis, does not address the judge's concerns about the appearance of impropriety.

“Whether District Attorney Willis and her Office are permitted to continue representing the State of Georgia in prosecuting the Defendants in this action is of the utmost importance to this case, and ensuring the appellate courts have the opportunity to weigh in on these matters pre-trial is paramount,” they wrote according to ABC News .

In their court filing, the defendants requested Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee to issue a certificate for the review of his decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals. Judge McAfee's ruling on Friday mandated the resignation of special prosecutor Nathan Wade for District Attorney Fani Willis to continue her prosecution efforts.

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Following Wade's resignation, Willis has been able to remain in charge of the case, which is one of four criminal cases against the presumptive Republican nominee for the 2024 presidential election. Although Judge McAfee did not identify a conflict of interest in Willis’ relationship with Wade, he noted that the allegations presented an “appearance of impropriety” affecting the credibility of the prosecution team.

In his attempt to find a middle ground, McAfee wrote that his decision was premised on the idea that “disqualification of a constitutional officer [is not] necessary when a less drastic and sufficiently remedial option is available.”

Some legal experts say that Willis could benefit her case against Trump – and her own career – by stepping aside, following McAfee’s criticism of her conduct. McAfee’s ruling last week alluded to an “odor of mendacity” regarding Willis’s testimony about her relationship with Wade, who resigned after the judge’s comments.

Andrew George, a trial lawyer and adjunct professor at the Georgetown Law Center, commented to USA TODAY shortly after the ruling, saying, "She survived today, she survived this opinion, but this is not going away."

"The scrutiny is going to only build and build because her presentation and Mr. Wade's presentation during this process were not convincing." George continued, "If it were proven that she lied under oath, I think that would be grounds for disbarment. However, that would probably require more proof than currently exists."

Ryan Goodman, a law professor at New York University, said on CNN that the judge's "odor of mendacity" remark, served as "an invitation" for the filing of an ethics charge related to dishonesty. "I can't imagine that somebody won't take up that invitation – it just takes a group of lawyers to file an ethics complaint."

Should Trump win another term in the White House, it is expected that Trump would use executive authority to dismiss, at the very least, the two federal cases he is facing.

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