Trump and Co-Defendants Appeal Ruling on District Attorney in Georgia Case

Donald Trump and his co-defendants in Georgia are appealing Judge Scott McAfee’s decision allowing the Fulton County district attorney to remain on the case. A successful appeal could potentially undermine the entire prosecution.

However, District Attorney Fani Willis is vigorously opposing the defense’s efforts to overturn McAfee’s ruling. Last month, Judge McAfee ruled that Willis and her office could continue with the case provided that special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who had a romantic relationship with Willis, stepped down. Wade complied with the ruling.

In a filing to the state appeals court on Monday, Willis’ office asserted that McAfee’s decision was correct and there was “no error” in the ruling. The filing characterized the defense complaint as simply reflecting dissatisfaction with the application of established law by the trial court.

McAfee determined that while there was no actual conflict of interest arising from the relationship, the appearance of impropriety necessitated the removal of either Willis or Wade from the case. Consequently, Wade was removed while Willis’ office remained in charge of prosecuting the case. The defense had argued that Willis had a vested interest in the case due to her hiring of Wade.

The state appeals court has the discretion to decline the pretrial appeal, and a decision on whether to take up the appeal may not be known until next month. If Willis and her office are disqualified from the case, it would need to be reassigned to another office, potentially jeopardizing the election racketeering prosecution involving multiple defendants.

The Georgia case does not yet have a trial date, unlike Trump’s impending first criminal trial next week in New York on a separate state case. Notably, Trump cannot pardon himself or unilaterally dismiss state cases if he were to return to the presidency. However, if the Georgia defendants succeed in their appeal to disqualify Willis, the case may never proceed to trial.