Fani Willis Blew It: Trump Georgia Case Officially on Hold

On Wednesday, the Georgia Court of Appeals made a decisive move in the racketeering case involving former President Donald Trump. With an official order, the court has halted all proceedings. 

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It’s because of the pending ruling on the defendants’ motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the case. The appeals court directed Judge Scott McAfee hit the breaks on the case until this matter is resolved.

This decision comes in the wake of concerns surrounding Willis’ impartiality. In March, McAfee ruled that despite “a significant appearance of impropriety” due to her romantic involvement with special prosecutor Nathan Wade — which included her giving him preferential treatment including inflated pay, joint vacations, and potential misuse of state funds — Willis could continue her case against Donald Trump and 18 others. The ruling came with the condition that she fire Wade. She didn’t have to; he resigned.  

However, McAfee’s decision to grant immediate review enabled Trump and eight co-defendants to petition the Georgia Court of Appeals for consideration before trial. On Monday, the Georgia appeals court scheduled oral arguments for Oct. 4 for the disqualification of Willis. Between the scheduling of the disqualification hearing and the pausing of the trial, there’s no way this case will not go to trial before the 2024 presidential election as Democrats had hoped.

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“In a one-page order, the court stated that any movement at the trial court level pertaining to Trump and eight other defendants who have appealed a ruling allowing the prosecutor, Fani Willis, to remain on the case was ‘stayed pending the outcome of these appeals,’” the New York Times reported.

And experts say that Willis is to blame.

“She has just stabbed the case right in the heart,” Clark D. Cunningham, a legal ethics expert and a law professor at Georgia State University, told the New York Times.

The order was more bad news for critics and opponents of Trump who had hoped that he would stand trial in Georgia before he faced off against President Joe Biden in the general election. Trump and a number of his allies were indicted in Georgia last summer in a sweeping racketeering case that accused them of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.

But the case was derailed this year with the revelation that Willis had been romantically involved with a lawyer she hired to manage the case.

Defense lawyers argued that Willis and her entire office should be disqualified, but the presiding judge, Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior Court, allowed her to stay on it. The defense successfully persuaded the state appellate court to hear a pretrial appeal of McAfee’s ruling.

In addition to Trump, those appealing the disqualification ruling include Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former personal lawyer, and Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s White House chief of staff at the time of the 2020 election.

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The Supreme Court is also expected to rule on the issue of presidential immunity this month, which could affect the case as well.

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