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Georgia Court of Appeals allows Trump appeal to have Willis removed from case to go ahead

ATLANTA — Just over a week after the Georgia Court of Appeals said it would look at the ruling that allowed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain on the Georgia election interference case, it is allowing the appeal filed by former President Donald Trump to have Willis and her office removed from the case to go ahead.

Fani Willis’s office has not denied the allegations and has had little comment beyond saying that it will respond in a court filing.Credit…Kenny Holston/The New York Times

This development comes after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee decided Willis could continue leading the investigation, provided special prosecutor Nathan Wade bowed out amid swirling rumors of a past romantic entanglement with Willis. Despite admitting to the liaison, which they claim ended last summer, Willis and Wade staunchly maintain that their previous relationship holds no sway over the integrity of the proceedings.

Last week state appeals court in Georgia agreed to take up the appeal of a judge’s ruling that initially allowed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to continue prosecuting Trump. Now, Trump’s legal team has notified the court it will move forward with the appeal after its approval. A timeline for the appeals court to issue a ruling is uncertain, though Willis’ office is bound to push for an expeditious process.

Trump Hush Money Former President Donald Trump talks to the media outside Manhattan criminal court in New York, on Tuesday, May 14, 2024. (Curtis Means/Pool Photo via AP) (Curtis Means/AP)

The indictment against Trump and 18 others in Georgia represented a pivotal moment in the ongoing examination of the 2020 presidential election’s aftermath. The charges stem from Democrat claims of a collective attempt to contest and potentially overturn the election results in Georgia, a key battleground state.

Those charged alongside Trump include a variety of political operatives and legal advisors, suggesting that the investigation has been comprehensive, targeting not just the higher echelons of political leadership but also those who might have worked behind the scenes.

Willis is currently being boxed in by multiple investigations into her office’s handling of federal and state funds. Whistleblowers who spoke with the U.S. House Oversight Committee have claimed that she redirected funds intended for an anti-gang unit to continue supporting her Trump investigation, which paid Wade at last $700,000 for two years’ work.

Nathan Wade has never led a high-profile criminal case and had largely worked as a suburban defense lawyer and municipal judge.Credit…Pool photo by Jason Getz

At the state level, a special committee has been convened to question other county officials about the hiring of Wade.

This Tuesday, key figures Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, Cathy Latham, and Michael Roman launched their own appeals in the case, joining the former President and Republican front-runner. Trump and former Georgia GOP leader David Shafer have voiced their objections to Willis’ involvement. They say the integrity of the case is compromised, urging for Willis’ removal to ensure fairness in the proceedings.

This sentiment was echoed by several co-defendants who have filed similar appeals. Adding to the discussion, former DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James expressed to Atlanta’s WSB-TV the necessity of appellate review, citing the scarcity of legal precedent for such a case.

“It’s uncharted territory,” District Attorney James said about the ongoing legal proceedings in the Georgia election interference case. He then expressed his doubts about the possibility of a trial against Trump and others proceeding before the November election. “I don’t see how that’s possible. Now, stranger things have happened, right? But just don’t see how that’s possible,” he added.

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