Georgia judge allows Trump to appeal Fani Willis disqualification ruling

 March 22, 2024

The Georgia judge who declined to disqualify Fani Willis from prosecuting Donald Trump has accepted Trump's request for a pre-trial appeal of that decision. 

“This is highly significant,” Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead Georgia attorney, said in a statement.

“It means the defense is permitted to apply to the Georgia Court of Appeals for pretrial review of the Judge’s order refusing to dismiss the case or disqualify Fulton County DA Willis,” he added.

“The defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified.”

Fani Willis disqualification twist

The decision from Judge Scott McAfee sets up a possible reversal of his surprise ruling, which allowed Wilis to stay on the case despite a striking "appearance of impropriety" in her affair with fellow prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired.

Trump and seven of his codefendants filed a motion on Monday asking for McAfee's permission to review, calling Wade's resignation "insufficient to cure the appearance of impropriety the Court has determined exists."

McAfee said Wednesday that Trump and his codefendants could make an appeal, but the case would continue in the meantime. Willis is reportedly eager to proceed to trial this summer.

Splitting the baby

Some have criticized McAfee's decision to let Willis remain on the case as an attempt to "split the baby," so to speak.

Willis and Wade both claimed that she reimbursed him in cash for trips they took together, an arrangement McAfee called "unusual" but "not so incredible as to be inherently unbelievable."

The judge decided there was no "actual conflict" but acknowledged there was a concerning "odor of mendacity" that could leave the public with doubts about the case.

McAfee also admonished Willis for her "unprofessional" testimony in court, in which she discussed her preference in alcohol and angrily dismissed "lies" about her.

The judge also found "legally improper" her speech at an Atlanta church where she called her critics racist.

Round two

McAfee also dismissed some of the charges against Trump and his codefendants as legally unsound, casting further doubt on Willis' sweeping prosecution.

While McAfee found that disqualification was not warranted, his damning findings left Trump with an opening to pursue an appeal, which he is now doing.

Even if Willis ultimately stays on the case, her conduct has already tainted her prosecution, and possibly the other cases against Trump as well.

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