Trump gets approval from judge to appeal decision to let DA Willis remain on election case

 March 21, 2024

Former President Donald Trump's request to appeal a Georgia judge's decision to not remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the criminal prosecution of Trump was just granted by that same judge, Breitbart reported.

Last week, following months of filings and hearings over allegations of conflicts of interest related to a previously undisclosed romantic relationship between Willis and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ruled that Willis could remain on the case if Wade stepped aside, which he promptly did.

Trump and several of his co-defendants in the politically charged election interference and racketeering criminal case still insist that Willis, and her office more broadly, should have been disqualified and removed from the case, if not for the charges to be dropped altogether.

Appeal can happen but the case will still proceed

The Hill reported that former President Trump and several co-defendants filed a joint motion last week requesting a "Certificate of Immediate Review" of Judge McAfee's decision to allow DA Willis to stay on the case if Wade resigned, which stated, "The March 15 Order is of exceptionally great importance to this case, substantially impacting Defendants’ rights to due process."

"Additionally, given the lack of guidance from the appellate courts on key issues, and the fact that any errors in the March 15 Order could be structural errors that would necessitate retrial(s), the grant of a certificate of immediate review is both prudent and warranted," the motion added.

It would appear that McAfee agreed that his prior order was consequential enough to warrant an immediate appeal, as he granted the requested certification in a two-page order issued on Wednesday.

However, the judge won't pause the proceedings while that appeal plays out, as he wrote, "The Court intends to continue addressing the many other unrelated pending pretrial motions, regardless of whether the petition is granted within 45 days of filing, and even if any subsequent appeal is expedited by the appellate court."

Trump's attorney is "optimistic" that appeal will succeed

The Hill further reported that this was a "highly significant" move from Judge McAfee, according to Trump's attorney Steve Sadow, who 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. The defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified."

That is in line with Sadow's statement in the immediate aftermath of McAfee's ruling last week, when he said, "While respecting the Court’s decision, we believe that the Court did not afford appropriate significance to the prosecutorial misconduct of Willis and Wade, including the financial benefits, testifying untruthfully about when their personal relationship began, as well as Willis’ extrajudicial MLK 'church speech,' where she played the race card and falsely accused the defendants and their counsel of racism."

"We will use all legal options available as we continue to fight to end this case, which should never have been brought in the first place," he added at that time.

Judge lambasted Willis and Wade in order that Trump can now appeal

CBS News reported that the whole saga began in January when Trump co-defendant Michael Roman first raised the allegations of an improperly undisclosed romantic relationship between DA Willis and Special Prosecutor Wade, along with claims that Willis had improperly benefited financially from the arrangement by way of Wade using the taxpayer funding he received from the county to finance multiple vacations for the pair.

In filings and multiple hearings, Willis and Wade eventually admitted to the relationship, though they insisted it only began after Wade was hired in November 2021. However, submitted evidence and witness testimony strongly suggested otherwise, and Judge McAfee acknowledged in his March 15 order that there remained "reasonable questions" about whether the two prosecutors "testified untruthfully" about the timing and impropriety of their relationship.

He further lambasted Willis for her apparent "tremendous lapse in judgment" in hiring Wade as well as the "unprofessional manner" in which she conducted herself during her testimony. On top of that, while the judge noted that he couldn't "conclusively establish" when, exactly, the relationship between Willis and Wade began, their dubious testimony reeked with "an odor of mendacity," or untruthfulness.

It is unclear at this time if the Georgia appellate court will accept a petition to immediately review McAfee's decision to let Willis stay on the case while ousting Wade, much less rule in favor of the defendants, and even if the court does rule that Willis should be disqualified, that likely won't result in the dismissal of the charges but instead would lead to the case being reassigned to a different prosecutor's office.

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