Trump can appeal against ruling in Georgia election interference case – judge

The judge overseeing the Georgia election interference case has given permission for Donald Trump to appeal against a ruling allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain on the prosecution.

Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on Wednesday granted a request by defence lawyers to ask the Georgia Court of Appeals to review the judge’s decision.

It is now up to the appeals court to decide whether the court will hear the case.

Judge McAfee in a ruling last week denied the defence’s request to disqualify Ms Willis from the case or dismiss the indictment over her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Georgia Election Indictment
Special prosecutor Nathan Wade has resigned (Alex Slitz, Pool/AP)

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

Mr Wade’s resignation allowed Ms 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 Mr Trump’s relentless barrage of attacks on the pair who pledged to hold Mr Trump accountable but found their own actions under a public microscope.

Mr Wade offered his resignation in a letter to Ms 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”.

Election 2024 Trump
Donald Trump has denied wrongdoing (Wilfredo Lee/AP)

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

Attorneys for Mr Trump and the other defendants had said a failure to remove Ms 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.

Trump attorney Steve Sadow called the judge’s decision to allow the appeal “highly significant”.

“The defence is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified,” Mr Sadow said.

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