Commencement of Closing Arguments in the Effort to Disqualify Fulton County DA Fani Willis from the Trump Election Case

Credits: Politico

The legal battle surrounding the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants is reaching a critical juncture in Atlanta.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday afternoon, focusing on the motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the case.

If Willis is removed due to allegations of misconduct, her entire office would be disqualified, necessitating the appointment of a new prosecutor to handle the extensive case.

The motion for Willis’s disqualification was initiated by Michael Roman, a former Trump White House and campaign staffer, who is also one of Trump’s co-defendants.

Fani Willis ON Trump’s Election Case (Credits: Axios)

The motion alleges that Willis had an “improper” personal relationship with Nathan Wade, the lawyer she appointed as a special prosecutor in the case. Roman contends that Willis violated rules to appoint Wade and financially benefited from his appointment, amounting to over $600,000.

While Willis and Wade eventually acknowledged their relationship, they asserted that it began after Wade’s appointment in November 2021. Roman’s motion, joined by Trump and other defendants, claims that the relationship started before Wade’s appointment.

Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, overseeing the case, approved an evidentiary hearing on Roman’s claims, stating that disqualification could occur if evidence demonstrated an actual conflict or the appearance of one. The hearing took place over three days in the past two weeks.

Willis and Wade testified during the hearings, maintaining that their relationship started over a year after Wade’s appointment, and Willis did not profit from his work. They explained that any financial transactions between them were promptly settled.

Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, presented Robin Yeartie, a former friend of Willis, who testified that the couple began seeing each other before Wade’s appointment.

Merchant sought to corroborate this testimony with Terrence Bradley, Wade’s former divorce lawyer, who indicated in a text message to Yeartie that the relationship had started before Willis was elected DA.

Bradley initially claimed attorney-client privilege but was compelled to testify after a private meeting with Judge McAfee. During the hearing, Bradley mentioned that Wade had informed him about dating Willis but couldn’t recall when the relationship started.

Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow, questioned Bradley’s speculative statement in a text message and suggested that he might know the truth.

Donald Trump and Roman have both pleaded not guilty in the case, which alleges a conspiracy to overturn the election results in Georgia illegally. The outcome of the disqualification motion could significantly impact the trajectory of the legal proceedings.

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