Appeals court suspends Trump trial in Georgia after prosecutors' love scandal

ATLANTA — An appeals court stayed the case of alleged electoral interference in Georgia against former president Donald trump and other defendants while reviewing a trial judge's decision to allow Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, remains on the case after the scandal of her romantic relationship with the special prosecutor she hired, Nathan Wade.

The appeals court ruling determines that the trial against Trump is paralyzed until a panel of judges decides whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified.

The Georgia Court of Appeals issued an order that will prevent Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee from moving forward with pretrial motions as he planned while the appeal is resolved.

In March, the judge handling the case rejected an attempt by Trump and several other co-defendants to disqualify the district attorney who brought the charges following revelations that she was in a romantic relationship with the man she hired as a special prosecutor whom she accused. he would have paid more than 600,000 thousand dollars and from which he would have allegedly benefited.

The appeals court on Monday recorded appeals filed by Trump and eight other defendants and said that “if oral argument is requested and granted” it is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4. The court will then have until mid-March to issue a decision, and the losing party can then file an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Willis declined to comment on the appeals court decision.

Last August, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others for allegedly participating in a sprawling scheme to try to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Four of the defendants have pleaded guilty after reaching plea deals, but Trump and the others maintain their innocence. It is one of four criminal cases against Trump.

Improper love relationship

Trump and eight other defendants have sought to have Willis and her office removed from the case, arguing that her romantic relationship with special counsel Nathan Wade represented a conflict of interest.

Fulton County Superior Court Magistrate Scott McAfee asked Willis to remove Wade in mid-March when he understood that there was an “appearance of an improper relationship” between the two, although he ultimately left the prosecutor in charge in a decision which the defense called disappointing.

McAfee granted Trump and the other defendants a request to appeal his ruling to the state Court of Appeals.

The judicial official wrote that “a smell of mendacity remains.” He added that “reasonable questions” about whether Willis and Wade had testified truthfully about the time of their relationship “further reinforce the finding of an appearance of impropriety and the need to undertake commensurate efforts to remedy it.”

Despite his arguments, Judge McAfee said Willis could remain on the case only if Wade recused himself. The special prosecutor presented his resignation hours later.

Allegations that Willis had improperly benefited from her affair with Wade produced a tumultuous couple of months in the case, as intimate details of Willis and Wade's personal lives were exposed in court in mid-February.