April 17th, 2024

Fulton County DA Fani Willis must step aside or remove special prosecutor in Trump case, judge says

By Kate Brumback, The Associated Press on March 15, 2024.

FILE- Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides over a hearing is to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case because of a relationship with Nathan Wade, special prosecutor she hired in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump, Friday, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. Scott McAfee, who's presiding over the election interference case, drew two challengers Friday, March 8, 2024, for his nonpartisan race in May: civil rights attorney Robert Patillo and Tiffani Johnson, a staff attorney for another Fulton County judge. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz, Pool, File)

ATLANTA (AP) – The judge in the Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump and others said Friday that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis must step aside from Trump case or remove the special prosecutor with whom she had a romantic relationship before case can proceed.

Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade testified at a hearing last month that they had engaged in a romantic relationship, but they rejected the idea that Willis improperly benefited from it as lawyers for Trump and some of his co-defendants alleged.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he found the “allegations and evidence legally insufficient to support a finding of an actual conflict of interest.” However, he found there remains an “appearance of impropriety.”

“Even if the romantic relationship began after SADA Wade’s initial contract in November 2021, the District Attorney chose to continue supervising and paying Wade while maintaining such a relationship. She further allowed the regular and loose exchange of money between them without any exact or verifiable measure of reconciliation,” the judge wrote.

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