Judge Scott McAfee Grants Review of Decision Permitting Fani Willis to Stay on Trump Case

A Georgia judge on Wednesday granted approval to an appeal filed by former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants of a ruling that permitted Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to proceed with the prosecution of the 2020 election case.

Judge Scott McAfee of the Fulton County Superior Court, who invalidated the defendants’ endeavors to disqualify Willis last week, has now granted a certificate of immediate review, permitting the Georgia Appeals Court to examine the case.

McAfee wrote that the matter “is of such critical importance to the case that it requires immediate review.”

Although the prosecution is not halted, this action permits appeals regarding the disqualification endeavor to proceed prior to the trial.

The Georgia Court of Appeals is currently tasked with reviewing the decision not to disqualify Willis and determining whether or not to hear the case. Although McAfee’s ruling from last week permitted Willis to continue working on the case, it compelled Nathan Wade, her chief deputy on the case, to resign.

The main defense counsel for Trump in the case, Steve Sadow, described McAfee’s motion filed on Wednesday as “extremely significant.”

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

Attorneys for Donald Trump and his co-defendants appealed the judge’s decision on Monday on the grounds that he said that testimony given during the trial had an “odor of mendacity.”

Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Friday that Willis and her office could continue prosecuting Trump, contingent on her ex-lover Nathan Wade resigning from his position as special counsel. Wade complied with this order and stepped down.

“In its Order, the Court found that District Attorney Willis’ actions had created an appearance of impropriety and an ‘odor of mendacity’ that lingers in this case, as well as of 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’,” Trump’s legal team argued.

“Despite this, the Court declined to disqualify District Attorney Willis, finding that eliminating only the Special Assistant District Attorney would cure the lingering appearance of impropriety,” they added.

Trump’s lawyers noted that case law requires dismissal of the case or at the ‘very least’ the disqualification of Willis and her entire prosecutorial team.

On Friday, CNN legal analyst Michael Moore stated that the ruling against Fani Willis by Judge Scott McAfee is “not a good look” for the district attorney’s office and amounts to a significant gift for the defense.

McAfee refrained from disqualifying Willis from the case, but ruled that in order to rectify a “appearance of impropriety” arising from an alleged financial conflict of interest, either she or special prosecutor Nathan Wade must resign. Moore stated that the judge’s ruling is unfavorable to the prosecution and that Willis will likely encounter additional legal opposition on “CNN News Central.”

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“This was a self-inflicted wound that should have been healed and taken care of months ago,” Moore said. “But basically they just let it get infected now to this place where the district attorney has been called by a court that she has to practice in front of and her office has to practice in front of, she’s been called now unprofessional. And this frankly  … is a gift to the defense, I believe, as they will use this as they talk about whether or not the case has merit or whether or not it was brought for other reasons, whether or not it’s a professional prosecutor and all that. We’re going to hear all that down the road.”

“But we’re also going to hear, I expect, comments from the Georgia legislature, as they have moved forward with their panel inquiry into her conduct,” Moore added. “We’re going to hear now this finding echoed around the halls of Congress by the likes of people like Jim Jordan and things like that. So this is not a good day for the state and it’s not a good look for the state.”

By Melinda Davies
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