Georgia judge mulls banishing Trump prosecutors from election-tampering case

Donald Trump will have to wait two weeks to learn if Fani Willis stays on the case.

Donald Trump will have to wait two weeks to learn if Fani Willis stays on the case. Photo: Getty

The judge hearing the Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump says he hopes to rule within two weeks if the lead prosecutor and Fulton County district-attorney should be removed from the case.

Donald Trump’s lawyer told Georgia judge Scott McFee that the lead prosecutor who charged the former US president lied under oath about her secret affair with Nathan Wade, the lawyer she appointed to prosecute the case.

The lawyer, Steve Sadow, said Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ claim under oath that her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade did not begin until after she hired him was not credible.

“Once you have the appearance of impropriety … the law in Georgia is clear: That’s enough to disqualify,” Sadow told the judge.

Prosecutor Adam Abbate countered that three days of evidentiary hearings yielded “zero evidence” showing how Willis’ relationship harmed the defendants’ constitutional rights to due process.

“Because of that, the motions to disqualify should be denied,” Abbate said.

Secret affair

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, and the others are accused of pressuring Georgia officials to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state to President Joe Biden.

Trump has pleaded not guilty, along with his 14 co-defendants.

Disqualification of Willis would not necessarily end the case, as she would likely be replaced with a different district attorney from another Georgia county.

But this would lead to significant delays, and a new prosecutor could narrow the charges or decide not to pursue the case.

The affair was first revealed in a January by lawyers claiming it posed a conflict of interest and improperly enriched Wade, who was paid almost $700,000 even though he had never prosecuted a criminal case

Willis and Wade testified that their relationship did not begin until after Wade was hired, and prosecutors have said the relationship is irrelevant to the case because it did not harm the defendants.

Defence lawyers have accused the prosecutors of lying to the court, saying the relationship began before Wade was hired. In court papers filed last week, Trump’s attorney cited location data from Wade’s mobile phone suggesting he made numerous late-night visits to Willis’ home before she appointed him.

Legal woes all over

Trump is under indictment in three other state or federal criminal cases.

He is set to stand trial on March 25 in New York in a case accusing him of illegally covering up hush money payments to a porn star, which could be the only trial he

Fani Willis says Trump’s racism is driving his attacks on her and the Georgia prosecution team. Photo: AP

faces before the November election. New York argues the alleged payment was an election-campaign expense which should have been declared.

Trump has also been charged in Washington over his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss, but that case is paused until the US Supreme Court decides if he is immune from prosecution over actions he took while in office.

He is also under indictment in Florida over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office. The judge overseeing that case held a hearing on Friday on Trump’s bid to move his May 20 trial date.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all those cases and says they are part of a politically motivated plot to undermine his bid for office.

If he wins the presidency, Trump could use his presidential powers to end the Washington and Florida cases because they were brought in federal court.

He would not have the power to stop the Georgia case because it was brought in state court.

-with AAP

Topics: Donald Trump
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