Judge clears way for Trump to appeal ruling keeping Fani Willis on Georgia 2020 election case

ATLANTA (AP) — The judge overseeing the Georgia election interference case is allowing Donald Trump to appeal a ruling letting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis remain on the prosecution.

Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on Wednesday granted a request by defense attorneys to ask the Georgia Court of Appeals to review the judge’s decision. It’s now up to the appeals court to decide whether the court will hear it.

McAfee in a ruling last week denied the defense’s request to disqualify Willis from the case or dismiss the indictment over her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. The judge said Willis can remain on the case as long as Wade resigns, which Wade did on Friday.

But the judge also rebuked Willis for her “tremendous” lapse in judgment and questioned the truthfulness of Wade’s and her testimony about the timing of their relationship.

Wade’s resignation allowed Willis to remain on the most sprawling of four criminal cases against the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2024 presidential election.

But the long-term damage to the public perception of the prosecution remains unclear, particularly in light of Trump’s relentless barrage of attacks on the pair who pledged to hold Trump accountable but found their own actions under a public microscope.

Wade offered his resignation in a letter to Willis, saying he was doing so “in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public and to move this case forward as quickly as possible.”

“I will always remember — and will remind everyone — that you were brave enough to step forward and take on the investigation and prosecution of the allegations that the defendants in this case engaged in a conspiracy to overturn Georgia’s 2020 Presidential Election,” Willis wrote.

Trump’s team felt differently.

In a social media post, Trump said the “Fani Willis lover” had “resigned in disgrace,” and Trump repeated his assertion that the case is an effort to hurt his campaign to reclaim the White House in November. Trump has denied doing anything wrong and pleaded not guilty.

Attorneys for Trump and the other defendants had said a failure to remove Willis could imperil any convictions and force a retrial if an appeals court later finds it was warranted.

“Neither the Court nor the Parties should run an unnecessary risk of having to go through that process more than once,” they wrote.

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