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HomeWorld NewsTrump co-defendants officially file notices of appeal to kick Fani Willis off...

Trump co-defendants officially file notices of appeal to kick Fani Willis off GA case

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Co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case against former president Donald Trump have filed notices of appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals in their bid to have Fulton County prosecutor Fani WIllis disqualified. 

Last week, the appeals court said that it would hear the case raised by Trump and several co-defendants that Willis should be disqualified from the case because she had an “improper” affair with special counsel Nathan Wade, whom she hired. 

Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Cathy Latham, and Michael Roman all filed their notices of appeal Monday in the case, joining former Georgia GOP head David Shafer in kicking off the briefing processes before the court, WSB-TV reported. 

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled in March that Wade had to be removed in order to keep Willis from disqualification in the sweeping racketeering case against Trump.

MEET FANI WILLIS’ GOP CHALLENGER FOR THE TOP PROSECUTOR JOB IN DEEP-BLUE GEORGIA

Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Alyssa Pointer)

Trump and several co-defendants alleged Willis and Wade were romantically involved prior to his hiring and that she financially benefited from the relationship. Both Willis and Wade denied those allegations.

Judge McAfee allowed the defense to appeal his ruling, and the appeals court announced last week that they will hear the defense’s case to still have Willis disqualified.

“President Trump looks forward to presenting interlocutory arguments to the Georgia Court of Appeals as to why the case should be dismissed and Fulton County DA Willis should be disqualified for her misconduct in this unjustified, unwarranted political persecution,” Trump lawyer Steve Sadow said in a statement.

A court date has not yet been set.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis looks on during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on March 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (Alex Slitz-Pool/Getty Images)

McAfee’s ruling in March said that the defendants “failed to meet their burden of proving that the District Attorney acquired an actual conflict of interest in this case through her personal relationship and recurring travels with her lead prosecutor.”

“However, the established record now highlights a significant appearance of impropriety that infects the current structure of the prosecution team — an appearance that must be removed through the State’s selection of one of two options,” he wrote, adding that Willis and her whole office can choose to step aside, or Wade can withdraw from the case.

Wade subsequently resigned from his post as special prosecutor.

The co-defendants had alleged that Willis benefited financially by hiring Wade because they were in a pre-existing relationship when he was hired in 2021 and would vacation together. 

Both Wade and Willis denied they were in a romantic relationship prior to his hiring and that the couple would split the costs of their shared travels; Willis said she reimbursed Wade for her share of the trips in cash.

In his March order, McAfee said while Willis’ “reimbursement practice” was “unusual and the lack of any documentary corroboration understandably concerning,” he ultimately decided that the defendants did not present “sufficient evidence” that expenses weren’t “roughly divided evenly.” 

NATHAN WADE SPEAKS OUT ON ‘WORKPLACE ROMANCE’ WITH FULTON COUNTY DA FANI WILLIS: ‘AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE’

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis talks about Trump indictment

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference, Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

He also said that “the evidence demonstrated that the financial gain flowing from her relationship with Wade was not a motivating factor on the part of the District Attorney to indict and prosecute this case.”

In February, Judge McAfee held a two-day evidentiary hearing where the defense, led by attorney Ashley Merchant, set out to expose a money trail that would mean Willis has a conflict of interest in the case against Trump and should be disqualified.

“[T]he Court finds that the record made at the evidentiary hearing established that the District Attorney’s prosecution is encumbered by an appearance of impropriety,” McAfee wrote in his order.

“As the case moves forward, reasonable members of the public could easily be left to wonder whether the financial exchanges have continued resulting in some form of benefit to the District Attorney, or even whether the romantic relationship has resumed.”

“Put differently, an outsider could reasonably think that the District Attorney is not exercising her independent professional judgment totally free of any compromising influences. As long as Wade remains on the case, this unnecessary perception will persist,” he said.

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When the defense in March submitted a joint motion for a Certificate of Immediate Review, McAfee said that his Order on the Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss and Disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney issued March 15 “is of such importance to the case that immediate review should be had” and allowed the defendants to ask the Georgia appeals court for an opportunity to appeal, which the court granted on Wednesday.


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