Trump seeks to appeal the judge’s order that maintains Fani Willis in the Georgia case

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ATLANTA – Former President donald trump and several allies accused in the Georgia election interference case asked the judge to allow them to appeal their decision allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis (D) to remain on the case.

In a court filing Monday, Trump and eight co-defendants requested that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee grant them a “certificate of immediate review” of their order last week rejected defense motions seeking to disqualify Willis over allegations that she had an inappropriate romantic relationship with an outside prosecutor she had appointed to lead the case.

The certificate, if approved, would allow the defendants to appeal McAfee’s order to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

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On Friday, McAfee ruled that Trump and the others “had not met their burden” of proving that Willis’s romantic relationship with special counsel Nathan Wade and allegations that she was financially enriched by trips the two took together were sufficient. “conflict of interests”. ”To get her off her case. However, McAfee also found a “significant appearance of wrongdoing” and said Willis and his or Wade’s office had to drop the case. Wade resigned later Friday.

In their motion Monday, Trump and the others argued that Wade’s resignation was “insufficient to cure the appearance of wrongdoing that the Court has determined exists.”

“The Court determined that District Attorney Willis’ actions had created an appearance of impropriety and a ‘smell of mendacity’ that lingers in this case, as well as the continued possibility that ‘an outsider might reasonably think that District Attorney Willis ‘he is not exercising his functions’. independent professional judgment totally free of any compromising influence,’” the defense motion stated, citing McAfee’s ruling.

“Defendants believe that relevant jurisprudence requires the dismissal of the case, or at the very least, the disqualification of the District Attorney and her entire office under the facts that exist here,” the motion adds.

Trump and others had also argued that Willis should be disqualified because of comments she made in a Jan. 14 speech at a historic black church in Atlanta, where suggested that the criticism of her and Wade was racially motivated.

McAfee ruled Friday that the defendants had not proven that Willis’ comments had tainted the potential jury, in part because it was too early to tell. He also said the case law on forensic misconduct by prosecutors was too vague to determine whether Willis’ comments met that standard. But the judge was deeply critical of Willis’ speech, describing it as “legally inadequate.”

Trump and the others pointed to McAfee’s opinion of the speech and argued that a higher court should review his ruling.

“It is of utmost importance to this case whether District Attorney Willis and her office are allowed to continue representing the state of Georgia in prosecuting the defendants in this action, and ensuring that the appellate courts have the opportunity to weigh in.” about these matters before the trial. is paramount,” the defense motion stated.

The defense motion was initially filed by attorneys for eight co-defendants who originally sought to disqualify Willis, including Trump, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former campaign aides Trump’s Mike Roman and Harrison Floyd, former Trump campaign attorney Robert Cheeley, former Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, and Trump’s Georgia elector Cathleen Latham. Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark joined the motion shortly afterward, a delay caused by a “paperwork error,” according to his attorney Harry MacDougald.

A spokesman for Willis declined to comment.

Steve Sadow, Trump’s attorney, said in a statement that McAfee’s ruling on Willis “is ready for pretrial appellate review.”

McAfee has given no hint as to whether he will give the defendants the right to appeal his ruling on Willis. in a separate order last week dismissing six charges of the original 41-count indictment, the judge included language informing prosecutors that he would approve an appeal if they requested one. No such language was included in Friday’s order on Willis, an omission that surprised some involved in the case.

The defendants had 10 days from last Friday to request a certificate of review. There is no timeline for McAfee as it considers whether to allow an appeal to move forward. If McAfee grants a review, Trump and others would have another 10 days to present their case to the state Court of Appeals, which will then have 45 days to determine whether to take up the case. If the appeals court refuses to take up the case, Trump and the others could ask the Georgia Supreme Court to hear it.

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