Politics

Judge In Trump’s Fulton County Case Warns DA Willis Could Be ‘Disqualified’ Over Affair

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.


The judge presiding over Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis’ election case against former President Donald Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants is warning her she could be “disqualified” over an alleged improper relationship with a special prosecutor she hired to assist.

Willis faced allegations of engaging in an “improper” relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she appointed to assist in prosecuting Trump in a broad racketeering case linked to the 2020 election.

Michael Roman, a co-defendant of Trump, made the initial accusations and argued that Willis’ alleged behavior called for her disqualification and the removal of her team from the case.

Willis, who admitted to a personal relationship with Wade but denied any conflict of interest, asked the court to cancel the evidentiary hearing slated for later this week, Fox News reported.

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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said during a hearing Monday when considering those motions, “In studying the law that’s been filed up to this point, I think it’s clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one. And the filings submitted on this issue so far have presented a conflict in the evidence that can’t be resolved as a matter of law.”

“Specifically looking at defendant Roman’s motion, it alleges a personal relationship that resulted in a financial benefit to the district attorney. And that is no longer a matter of complete speculation. The state has admitted a relationship existed. And so, what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit,” the judge said.

“So, because I think it’s possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification, I think an evidentiary hearing must occur to establish the record on those core allegations,” he added, Fox News reported.

The outlet added:

In legal filings last month, Roman alleged that Wade billed Fulton County for 24 hours of work on a single day in November 2021, shortly after being appointed as a special prosecutor, and that Willis financially benefited from her alleged lover’s padded taxpayer-funded salary by taking lavish vacations together on his dime. 

According to the court documents, Wade, who has no RICO or felony prosecution experience, has billed taxpayers $654,000 since January 2022.  

On Monday, McAfee said that “the particulars” of Wade’s legal experience — he’s reportedly never tried such a serious case — will not be relevant in the upcoming evidentiary hearing on Feb. 15, adding, “in my mind as long as a lawyer has a heartbeat and a bar card that lawyer’s appointment standing alone is a matter within the District Attorney’s discretion.”

He further noted that the issues “at point” here are “whether a relationship existed, whether that relationship was romantic or non-romantic in nature, when it formed, and whether it continues. And that’s only relevant because it’s in combination with the question of the existence and extent of any personal benefit conveyed as a result of their relationship.”

In her court filing responding to the allegations, Willis acknowledged a “personal” relationship with Wade but refuted any suggestion of a conflict of interest. She contended that under Georgia law, for a district attorney to be removed from a case involuntarily, the conflict of interest must demonstrate harm to a defendant’s case.

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Willis forced the U.S. Marshal Service to hand-deliver subpoenas issued by Republican-controlled House committees, compelling her testimony after she refused service of them via email, a report noted on Friday.

The Daily Caller reported that the House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to Fani Willis on February 2, requesting documents relevant to her potential misappropriation of federal funds concerning her indictment of former President Donald Trump. Willis declined to accept the subpoena when it was sent via email, leading the U.S. Marshals Service to deliver it to her in person, a person familiar with the incident told the outlet.

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