Donald Trump: Prosecutor in Georgia can continue investigations

Prosecutor Fani Willis is investigating Donald Trump for election fraud. She found herself in the firing line because of an affair with a colleague. Now a judge has ruled: Willis can continue under certain conditions.

The lead prosecutor in the election fraud case against former President Donald Trump in the US state of Georgia is allowed to continue her investigations in the case. The evidence from the other side was not enough to prove that Fani Willis had a conflict of interest that would justify removing her from the case, judge Scott McAfee ruled on Friday. However, the “appearance of impropriety” remains because of her previous romantic relationship with another prosecutor in the case, Nathan Wade. This must be resolved, either by Wade or she withdrawing from the proceedings, the judgment said.

Trump and several others are facing charges in Georgia over their attempts to overturn the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in the state. The Republican had lost to Democrat Joe Biden at the time and tried in various ways to subsequently change the election result, including by putting pressure on political leaders at the federal level and in states such as Georgia. Some of Trump's former associates entered into a deal with prosecutors after the indictment and pleaded guilty. The 77-year-old wants to move back into the White House after the presidential election in November.

Recently, the focus of the proceedings in Georgia was no longer on Trump, but on prosecutor Willis herself. The lawyers for Trump and other defendants accused her of unlawfully benefiting financially from a romantic relationship with another prosecutor in the case. The accusation was, among other things, that the prosecutor was overpaid in his position and had invited Willis to luxury vacations together. At an hour-long hearing in February, Willis defended himself.

Fani Willis wanted a quick trial against Donald Trump

Willis had actually announced that the trial would begin quickly; she had targeted August. The judge in the case has not yet set a date.

It remains to be seen whether and when the process can begin. The trial in Georgia is sensitive for Trump for various reasons: Trump must fear that his co-defendants will turn against him in order to negotiate a lesser sentence. Unlike federal trials, Trump would not be able to pardon himself if found guilty if he were to become president again. He faces a long prison sentence. He has an interest in delaying it as much as possible.

Willis, who holds elected office as a Democrat, was harshly targeted by Trump's camp from the start. Trump also repeatedly sought to undermine the prosecutor's credibility.