Fulton County Judge: Trump Can Appeal Ruling That Kept AG Fani Willis on Georgia Case

Wednesday, a Georgia judge said former President Donald Trump and several co-defendants in the state’s criminal election interference case could appeal the ruling that Fani Willis, the lead prosecutor, remain on the case.

The ruling clears the way for Trump and his co-defendants to ask a state appeals court to consider if Willis should be disqualified over Nathan Wade, the former deputy’s romantic relationship.

Scott McAfee, Fulton County Judge, ruled Friday that Willis and her office could continue prosecuting the case if Wade withdrew, which he agreed to do. However, McAfee stated the relationship created an “appearance of impropriety.”

However, the judge also rebuked AG Willis for her “tremendous” judgment lapse] and questioned the truthfulness of Wade’s and her testimony about their relationship’s timing.

Trump’s attorneys and the other defendants said that failing to remove Willis might threaten any convictions and force a retrial if an appeals court finds it necessary.

Trump attorney: Judge’s decision to allow appeal is “highly significant”

Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow, called the judge’s decision to allow the appeal “highly significant.”

“The defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified,” said Sadow in an email.

Wade offered his resignation letter to Willis and said he was doing so “in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public and to move this case forward as quickly as possible.”

“I will always remember — and will remind everyone — that you were brave enough to step forward and take on the investigation and prosecution of the allegations that the defendants in this case engaged in a conspiracy to overturn Georgia’s Presidential election,” wrote Willis.

Trump, in a social media post, said the “Fani Willis lover” had “resigned in disgrace” and repeated his claim that the case is an effort to damage his campaign to reclaim the White House in November.

Trump, along with 14 co-defendants, have pleaded not guilty to racketeering along with other charges that stem from what prosecutors say was a scheme to overturn the former president’s narrow Georgia defeat in the 2020 election.

Four other co-defendants in the case have pleaded guilty in prosecutorial deals.

McAfee’s order ruled her comments were insufficient to cause Willis’s removal from the case but noted they were “legally improper” and said case law did not clearly define the standard of “forensic misconduct” required for removal. Trump’s defense said it wants the appellate court to weigh in.

“[I]t is likely that the Georgia appellate courts would decide that District Attorney Willis’ forensic misconduct requires her disqualification in this case,” stated the defense motion. “At a minimum, the factual findings of the Court and the lack of appellate review, especially given that the failure to disqualify a prosecutor who should be disqualified is a structural error that could necessitate a retrial without any additional showing of prejudice.”