Fani Willis faces renewed prospect of disqualification after judge allows Trump to appeal ruling



Judge Scott McAfee decided last week against disqualifying Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from former President Donald Trump’s election interference case in Georgia.

Dissatisfied with the result — even though it led to Willis’ lover resigning his post as special prosecutor — attorney Steve Sadow filed a motion Monday on behalf of Trump and several of his codefendants, requesting that McAfee grant a certificate of immediate review of the order to the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Agreeing that the defendants’ motions to dismiss and disqualify the Democratic DA “is of such importance to the case that immediate review should be had,” McAfee granted the motion Wednesday.

The initial ruling

After
multiple motions were filed on behalf of Trump and his codefendants accusing Willis of misconduct — beginning with attorney Ashleigh Merchant’s opening salvo on Jan. 8 — Judge McAfee of the Fulton County Superior Court spent days hearing testimony concerning the Democratic DA’s affair with Nathan Wade.

Despite some indications that Willis and Wade may have misled the court about the timeline of their affair, McAfee, who is up for re-election, opted not to disqualify Willis. Instead, he required either the Democrat or her lover to step away from the case.

Wade resigned hours after McAfee issued his March 15 ruling.

The judge did, however, note that when confronted with the details of her affair with Wade, as alleged by the defendants, “a
prima facie argument arises of financial enrichment and improper motivations which inevitably and unsurprisingly invites a motion such as this.”

Blaze News
previously reported that McAfee also dragged Willis for the “unprofessional manner of [her] testimony during the evidentiary hearing,” her “bad choices,” her “tremendous lapse in judgment,” and her “legally improper” remarks at an Atlanta-area church in January.

The push for an appeal

Sadow, lead counsel for Trump,
filed a joint motion Monday requesting that the Fulton County Superior Court grant a certificate of immediate review of its order, stating that McAfee’s disqualification ruling “is of exceptionally great importance to this case, substantially impacting Defendants’ rights to due process.”

Sadow highlighted McAfee’s stated sense that Willis’ conduct “had created an appearance of impropriety and an ‘odor of mendacity’ that lingers in this case, as well as the continuing possibility that ‘an outsider could reasonably think that District Attorney Willis is not exercising her independent professional judgment totally free of any compromising influences.'”

The Trump attorney further suggested that the Georgia appellate courts would likely also recognize Willis’ Jan. 14 speech, which McAfee recognized as “legally improper,” as a contributing instance of forensic misconduct requiring the Democrat’s disqualification.

Off to the races

McAfee agreed Wednesday that “the Order on the Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss and Disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney issued March 15, 2024, ‘is of such importance to the case that immediate review should be had.'”

The judge wrote that his “challenged order is not one of final judgment, and the State has informed the Court that it has complied with the order’s demands. Thus, unless directed otherwise by an appellate court, supersedeas shall only apply to the order being appealed.”

Accordingly, it is now up to the Georgia Court of Appeals to decide whether or not to take up the matter of Willis’ disqualification.

McAfee signaled that he will proceed with unrelated pretrial matters in the meantime.

Sadow mocked those who suggested it would not be possible, writing, “So much for the so-called ‘expert’ naysayers who said Judge McAfee would not grant the certificate. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!”

So that others would similarly know who he was referring to, Sadow shared an image of a post from Georgia State assistant law professor
Anthony Michael Kreis who wrote, “I am increasingly skeptical that Judge McAfee will grant the certificate for immediate review. He essentially applied the defendants’ preferred standard for disqualification and crafted a cure that the DA took within hours. I think there’s reason to believe he’s ready to move on.”

Sadow suggested Kreis might “need a new crystal ball or Ouija board.”

Trump’s lead counsel also dunked on former Georgia state prosecutor and jury trial expert Chris Timmons, who cast doubt on whether McAfee would allow the defendants to appeal the order.

Sadow
said in a statement obtained by USA Today, “The defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified.”

Keith Johnson, a Georgia-based defense attorney and former prosecutor,
told the New York Post that McAfee’s pretrial decision to permit the appeal is rare and will effectively arrest the progress of the trial.

“Practically speaking, the trial will not proceed until the Georgia Court of Appeals makes a ruling on Judge McAfee’s order to allow District Attorney Willis to remain as a prosecutor on the case,” said Johnson.

The Post indicated Willis did not respond to its request for comment.

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