Trump, Co-Defendants Request Review Of Decision Not To Disqualify Fani Willis From Georgia Case

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Former President Donald Trump and seven other defendants in his Georgia racketeering case requested review Monday of a judge’s decision not to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Judge Scott McAfee ruled Friday that Willis could stay on the case against Trump if special prosecutor Nathan Wade stepped down, despite calling their actions a “tremendous lapse in judgment” and questioning whether they testified truthfully about their relationship. The defendants asked McAfee Monday to grant a certificate of immediate review allowing them to appeal his ruling, writing that the disqualification of Nathan Wade “is insufficient to cure the appearance of impropriety the Court has determined exists.”(RELATED: ‘More Baggage Than Amtrak’: Fani Willis’ Legal Troubles Are Far From Over)

“Whether District Attorney Willis and her Office are permitted to continue representing the State of Georgia in prosecuting the Defendants in this action is of the utmost importance to this case, and ensuring the appellate courts have the opportunity to weigh in on these matters pre-trial is paramount,” the defendants’ motion states. “As noted, should such review not occur until after any trial in this case and these decisions were ultimately reversed on appeal, such reversal would likely require the retrial of every convicted defendant without any additional showing of error or prejudice.”

Trump co-defendant Michael Roman initially filed the motion to disqualify Willis Jan. 8, alleging she financially benefited from appointing Wade when he took her on vacations using money earned from his position.

“The motion notes that the Court found that Willis’ actions created an appearance of impropriety and an ‘odor of mendacity’ that lingers in this case, but it nonetheless refused to dismiss the case or disqualify her,” Trump’s lead defense counsel Steve Sadow said in a statement. “The motion further notes that the Court found Georgia case law lacks controlling precedent for the standard for disqualification of a prosecuting attorney for forensic misconduct. For these reasons among others, the Court’s Order is ripe for pretrial appellate review.”

During their testimony, Willis and Wade both denied that their relationship began before he was hired, though a long-time friend of Willis, Robin Yeartie, testified that it began in 2019. They claimed the expenses for vacations were split roughly equally and that Willis paid him back in cash.

“The Court is not under an obligation to ferret out every instance of potential dishonesty from each witness or defendant ever presented in open court,” McAfee wrote in the ruling Friday. “Yet reasonable questions about whether the District Attorney and her hand-selected lead SADA testified untruthfully about the timing of their relationship further underpin the finding of an appearance of impropriety and the need to make proportional efforts to cure it.”

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