Court Grants Trump’s Appeal to Disqualify Fani Willis on Georgia Election Case

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Court of Appeals of the State of Georgia granted an appeal request from former President Donald Trump to reconsider a lower court ruling that allowed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain the prosecutor in the Georgia election subversion investigation.

Trump’s legal team has been trying to throw Willis — who was thrust into the national spotlight as the lead prosecutor investigating the former president’s alleged election crimes in the Peach State — off the case ever since allegations emerged about an affair that created a conflict of interest.

Trump and 18 people in his campaign and legal team were indicted on 41 felony charges related to their attempt to overturn Georgia’s results in the 2020 presidential election. The former president himself was indicted with 13 charges by a grand jury, including violating the state’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. 

During the investigation into Trump and his team’s efforts to overturn the election, Michael Roman — a former top official in the Trump campaign who was named as one of the co-defendants in the indictment — filed a motion to disqualify Willis, alleging that she had a romantic affair with Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she appointed to lead the prosecution, and that created a conflict-of-interest. 

In a hearing over the allegations, Willis took to the witness stand to defend herself. Willis accused Trump’s lawyers of lying about her alleged affair and fiercely defended herself. “You’ve been intrusive into people’s personal lives,” Willis said during the hearing. “You’re confused. You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial. No matter how hard you try to put me on trial.”

In March, a superior court judge ruled that Willis could remain on the case, so long as Wade recused himself. Wade resigned shortly after the ruling, writing in a letter that he’s doing so “in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public, and to move this case forward as quickly as possible.” 

But Trump’s legal team filed an appeal in early April, writing in a 40-page filing that “providing DA Willis with the option to simply remove Wade confounds logic and is contrary to Georgia law,” and that “the minimum that must be done to remove the stain of her legally improper and plainly unethical conduct from the remainder of the case.”

As the New York Times reports, this latest development in the legal saga over Trump’s Georgia indictment will likely further delay the case, thus making it less likely Trump will go to trial in Georgia before the general election in November. 

Read the notice granting an appeal here.

Learn more about the case here.