Georgia judge allows Trump to appeal Fani Willis disqualification ruling

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A Georgia judge allowed former President Trump to immediately appeal the recent ruling that refused to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) over her romantic relationship with a high-ranking prosecutor overseeing the election interference case. over there.

In a brief order issued Wednesday, Judge Scott McAfee granted the immediate review certificate requested by Trump and eight of his co-defendants in the sprawling extortion case.

They are now expected to ask the Georgia Court of Appeals to take up the disqualification battle before the case goes to trial.

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

“It means the defense can ask the Georgia Court of Appeals for a pretrial review of the judge’s order refusing to dismiss the case or disqualify Fulton County Prosecutor Willis,” he added. “The defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to dismissal of the case and disqualification of the district attorney.”

However, as the effort moves forward, McAfee made clear that he will not stop the process in his court.

“The Court intends to continue to address many other unrelated pending pretrial motions, regardless of whether the motion is granted within 45 days of filing, and even if the appeals court expedites any subsequent appeals,” he wrote. McAfee. in his failure.

Trump and his allies are accused of racketeering and other criminal charges for participating in a months-long criminal conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia. Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges, as well as the charges in his three other criminal cases.

The former president and many of his co-defendants are attempting to oust Willis and his entire office from the case because of the district attorney’s once romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor who led Georgia’s criminal investigation into the former president.

The revelation of the affair created a months-long detour in the case that included multiple hearings filled with salacious testimony. Last week, the judge ended the battle by ruling that Willis could remain on the case if Wade left. Hours later, Wade resigned.

Trump and his co-defendants are now attempting to take the matter to a higher court in the state, hoping to overturn the ruling and stall the case, or even get the charges dismissed entirely. They maintain that the affair created a real conflict of interest, an idea the district attorney’s office has rejected.

“The March 15 Order is of exceptional importance to this case, substantially impacting the defendants’ rights to due process,” attorneys for many of the defendants wrote in their joint motion requesting permission to appeal.

“Furthermore, given the lack of guidance from the appellate courts on key issues and the fact that any error in the March 15 Order could be a structural error that would require a new trial, granting a certificate of immediate review is prudent. and guaranteed.”

Updated at 11:22 a.m. ET

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