Fani Willis notches legal win in Trump case after months of setbacks

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis caught a break this week after a Georgia judge decided that a court order pausing litigation in the electioneering case against former President Trump would not prevent him from letting some parts of the case move forward.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he plans to continue working on some pretrial motions while the Georgia Court of Appeals reviews his decision on the motion to disqualify Wills, Fox 5 reported.

The appeals court on Oct. 4 will hear Trump and several co-defendants’ appeal to have Willis disqualified over her “improper” affair with Special Counsel Nathan Wade. The appeals court paused all pending litigation in their case in the meantime — a setback for Willis, who had hoped to try Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, before the election in November.

However, McAfee’s decision to continue pretrial motions for the defendants not involved in the appeal is a win for Willis, who has been embroiled in scandal, leading to two separate Georgia legislature investigations into misuse of federal funds and probes by federal lawmakers over the same issue.

Those six defendants are John Eastman, Ray Smith III, Shawn Still, Stephen Lee, Trevian Kutti and Misty Hampton.

McAfee noted Tuesday that Hampton had filed a motion seeking a discretionary stay of proceedings, arguing that the eventual appellate ruling might disqualify the district attorney, Fox 5 reported.

In his ruling, McAfee points out that even if Willis is disqualified, the indictment with several statutory and constitutional challenges must still be resolved, and he does not believe that a complete stay is the most efficient course — leading him to deny Hampton’s motion, the outlet reported.

Trump and his co-defendants were indicted in August after a nearly three-year investigation on charges of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. The indictment included 13 charges against Trump, as well as charges against 18 of his allies. Four defendants charged have already accepted plea deals. Six of the original charges have been dismissed, including three against Trump.

In February, Michael Roman, a GOP operative and co-defendant in the case, dropped bombshell accusations that Willis had an “improper” affair with Wade, whom she hired to help prosecute the case in November 2021.

Other co-defendants made similar allegations that she had financially benefited from her relationship with him by taking lavish vacations together.

Both Wade and Willis denied they were in a romantic relationship prior to his hiring and said they would split the costs of their shared travels. Willis said she reimbursed Wade for her share of the trips in cash.

After evidentiary hearings held in February, Judge McAfee ordered that Wade had to be removed in order to keep Willis from disqualification in the Trump election interference case in Georgia. Wade later resigned from the case.

When the defense in March submitted a joint motion for a Certificate of Immediate Review, McAfee said that his Order on the Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss and Disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney issued March 15 “is of such importance to the case that immediate review should be had” and allowed the defendants to ask the Georgia appeals court for an opportunity to appeal, which the court granted last month.

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