DA In Georgia Case May Soon Be Removed

[Marc Nozell from Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Donald Trump may be looking at a new trial in Georgia, or at least an entirely new prosecutor, according to a liberal lawyer writing in The Daily Beast. 

Last week, ABC News reported that “one of former President Trump’s co-defendants in his Georgia election interference case is seeking to dismiss the indictment against him and disqualify DA Willis, alleging she ‘engaged in a personal, romantic relationship’ with one of the top prosecutors she brought in to work on the case, which allegedly resulted in financial gain for both of them.

In the court filing Monday, former Trump campaign staff member Michael Roman accused Willis of having potentially committed “an act to defraud the public of honest services” based on her “intentional failure” to disclose the alleged relationship that she allegedly “personally benefitted from.”

The 127-page filing from Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, alleged the prosecutor, Nathan Wade, has a ‘lack of relevant experience’ but has been paid approximately $650,000 in legal fees since being appointed to the role — which the filing claims was a ‘self-serving arrangement.’ Trump’s attorney said in court on Friday that they’re considering joining in the complaint against Willis.”

The filings claimed that Wade then used his lucrative pay from working the case to take Willis on vacations to Napa Valley and the Caribbean.

“Willis and Wade were romantically involved prior to Willis awarding a contract for legal services with Wade,” the filing states.

Following the public disclosure of her alleged affair, Willis delivered a speech at Big Bethel AME church in which she denounced the social pressures put on black women “to be flawless,” comparing her situation to that of Martin Luther King Jr., who was similarly subjected to harassment over his personal life by his political opponents.

Unfortunately for her, the law doesn’t care about society’s “expectations” and instead simply says you can’t use your office to give your boyfriend huge paydays. 

The Daily Beast writes that in 2022, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney disqualified Fulton County from presiding over the prosecution of Lt. Governor Burt Jones because Fani Willis endorsed his political opponent, Democrat Charlie Bailey. In the order, the judge notes that there was an “actual” conflict of interest. This “does not mean that… Jones has definite proof that an investigative decision was made explicitly to benefit candidate Bailey. This rarely, if ever occurs… the conflict is actual because any public criminal investigation into [then-]Senator Jones plainly benefits Bailey’s campaign, of which the district Attorney is an open… supporter.”

The standard to disqualify Fulton County here is not whether Fani Willis actually made her decisions to benefit Nathan Wade. It’s plausible that she would have made the exact same choices without the personal relationship. But if her choices to extend or prolong the investigation benefit a romantic partner, who is paying for her meals and vacations, that is an actual conflict.

When a Georgia judge was found having sex with a public defender outside the courthouse, the courts did not hesitate to find that this undisclosed sexual contact required new trials for the accused, even if it might have arguably been to their benefit.

Just as here, the guilt or innocence of those accused was irrelevant. The conflict of interest required a new trial.

So what happens next? Judge McAfee has stated his intention to hold a hearing in February to look over the truth of these allegations. If they are true, the case will not be dismissed, but it is likely that he will disqualify Fani Willis, which, under Georgia law, will require disqualifying her entire office. The case will then go to the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, which will decide who the case can go on to next.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, told Fox News Digital that “these types of allegations are rarely resolved in the wholesale rejection of a criminal case.”

He also claimed that there are several remedies that the court can order in light of the scandal.

“The most obvious is the substitution of the prosecutors. It can also include the removal of the case to a different district. It is rare for the court to treat the underlying criminal case as legally invalid due to the misconduct of the prosecutors,” Turley continued. 

“I think it would be foolish to count on a dismissal of the case based on these allegations. I think it is more reasonable to expect a delay and a possible substitution of prosecutors on the case,” he added. 

One place where Trump could be helped, Turley explained, is in how the charges against the former prosector might pursued. “Willis is viewed as a highly political district attorney who relished the opportunity to charged Donald Trump….”I think many prosecutors would have balked at making this type of racketeering case. I think it is a case of overreach. That’s not to say that the case itself is without foundation. Many of these defendants are facing credible charges. It’s the attempt to link all of these parties into an overarching racketeering conspiracy that has left many of us skeptical.”

To make matters worse for Willis, The New York Times noted that “the day after Mr. Wade started work for the district attorney’s office in 2022, he filed for divorce. Lawyers for his wife, Joycelyn, issued a subpoena this week to Ms. Willis, seeking her appearance on Jan. 23 in a divorce action that is in progress.

While the court papers did not include any proof of the relationship between the prosecutors, they assert that the two have been seen ‘in a personal relationship capacity’ around Atlanta and claim that people close to both of them have confirmed their relationship.”

Willis’s office has not denied the allegations.

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