Trump Appeals Georgia Prosecutor Disqualification Ruling

Donald Trump is seeking permission from a Georgia judge to appeal a ruling that allowed the lead prosecutor to continue on the state’s criminal case against him for his efforts to overturn the election results.

In a filing on Monday, Trump and his co-defendants are pushing to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis due to allegations of an improper financial benefit from a relationship with a special prosecutor assigned to the case.

This appeal could provide Trump with another chance to delay the case, which is a key legal strategy as he faces multiple criminal trials while trying to return to the White House. Trump has been successful in delaying the start of all trials so far.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Friday that Willis and her office could continue with the prosecution as long as her former partner Nathan Wade stepped aside, which Wade agreed to do. McAfee determined that there was no conflict of interest requiring disqualification, but he did criticize the prosecutors for a “tremendous lapse in judgment.”

For Trump and his co-defendants to appeal the ruling immediately, McAfee’s permission is needed, and then the state appeals court would have to agree to hear the case. If the appeals court takes on the issue, Trump could request a pause in the case during the appeal process, which could take several months to resolve.

If the appeals court does not take the case now, Trump and his co-defendants could raise the issue again after the trial.

The attempt to disqualify Willis has already caused delays in the election interference case, as it was revealed in January by Trump’s co-defendant Michael Roman that Willis and Wade had vacationed together while Wade was being paid by the government for his work on the case.

Willis and Wade admitted to the relationship but denied any improper benefits or tainting of the prosecution.

Trump and 14 co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges related to an alleged scheme to overturn Trump’s narrow defeat in Georgia in the 2020 election. Four individuals initially charged have pleaded guilty.

A trial date has not been determined yet. 

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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