Willis or Wade must step aside in Trump’s Georgia case, judge rules

CollegeUnified By CollegeUnified 2 Min Read

A Georgia judge has ruled that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, or the prosecutor with whom she had a romantic relationship, must step down before her office can pursue its election interference case against former President Trump and his allies. Judge Scott McAfee ruled that Willis’ once-romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade created an appearance of conflict of interest in the racketeering case, allowing the district attorney to continue prosecuting Trump if Wade leaves. The investigation into Willis and Wade’s relationship, in which defense lawyers tried to show that Willis hired her romantic partner to prosecute Trump and has since benefited from his appointment through trips they took together, sidetracked the Trump prosecution.

The judge’s decision strikes a middle ground between the two sides, as Trump and eight of his co-defendants argued that the relationship justified dismissing the entire district attorney’s office from the case, which would have thrown the prosecution into chaos. Prosecutors characterized the calls to step aside as baseless. McAfee’s decision allows Willis to continue prosecuting the historic election interference case, in which she indicted Trump and his allies on racketeering and other charges, alleging they engaged in a months-long criminal conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the state. However, her once-romantic partner will have to leave.

Trump and the majority of his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges. McAfee’s decision allows the case to proceed if either Willis or Wade steps aside. A trial date has not yet been set, and the defendants have several pending motions to have their charges dismissed.