Trump's lawyers request hearing for oral arguments to disqualify Fani Willis

 June 11, 2024

Donald Trump's lawyers have asked a Georgia appeals court to let them present oral arguments clarifying why Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified.

Trump's lawyers cited "novel" questions about the legal standard for "forensic misconduct," one of the main issues before the court.

Forensic misconduct refers to actions a prosecutor takes that could improperly influence the jury.

The trial judge cited a lack of clear precedent on forensic misconduct when he declined to disqualify Willis in March over an inflammatory speech that she gave invoking race at an Atlanta church.

Fani Willis hearing request

Judge Scott McAfee called Willis' speech outside of court "legally improper" and opined that she was entering on "dangerous waters" but stopped short of finding it broke any rules.

"This Court has not located, nor been provided with, a single additional case exploring the relevant standard for forensic misconduct, or an opinion that actually resulted in disqualification under Georgia law," he wrote.

The forensic misconduct issue has been overshadowed by Willis' scandalous affair with prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Willis and Wade defended their affair during a dramatic hearing in February, where the pair claimed that Willis repaid Wade in cash for lavish trips they took together while Wade was being paid a hefty salary by Willis' office.

Despite acknowledging an "odor of mendacity," the judge permitted Willis to stay involved in the case as long as Wade stepped aside.

Judge's mistake

In their request for oral argument, Trump's lawyers said McAfee "erred" when he "inconsistently found that DA Willis' extrajudicial speech was 'legally improper', which all but acknowledged forensic misconduct, yet failed to disqualify."

Willis "stoked racial animus against the defendants and their counsel by, among other statements, asking God why the defendants challenged her conduct in hiring a black man but not his white counterparts," they noted.

Forcing Wade to step aside "did nothing to cure nor mitigate the harm to the defendants from DA Willis’ extrajudicial speech," they concluded.

"We believe oral argument will assist the Court by highlighting and clarifying the reasons why the case should be dismissed and Fulton County DA Willis should be disqualified for her misconduct," said Steve Sadow, lead defense counsel for Trump in Fulton County.

The appeal hearing is scheduled for October, likely dooming any chance that Willis will get a crack at the case before the 2024 election.

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