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Fani Willis Dealt Another Major Blow to Her Pursuit of Trump

Georgia appeals court puts Fulton County DA's case against former president on ice – for now.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, will have to wait a little longer to get Donald Trump – if she gets him at all. The Georgia Court of Appeals on June 5 put the brakes on her election interference case against the 45th president until it has determined whether she needs to be disqualified from the case at a hearing now scheduled for October. The ruling is a victory for Trump and another blow to Willis, who has vowed to prosecute him. Ironically, the DA brought this upon herself through a romantic entanglement with a prosecutor she hired to work on the Trump case – a relationship she then attempted to conceal.

Trump and 18 others were indicted by Fani Willis in August of 2023 on a range of charges related to alleged attempts to overturn the Georgia result of the 2020 presidential election. Earlier this year, however, several of the former president’s co-defendants accused Willis of having carried on an affair with one of her prosecutors, Nathan Wade. They further alleged that after she hired Wade and awarded him a generous salary, she benefited financially from the relationship as the two of them took luxury trips together – some of which were paid for by Wade.

Wade was subsequently forced to resign from his position as a prosecutor on the case for Willis to continue her pursuit of the former president.

The case against Trump suffered another blow in March when Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee dismissed six of the multiple charges brought against the defendants. The accused – Trump and eight others, to be precise – appealed to have Willis removed from the case because of her “improper” affair with Wade. The Georgia Court of Appeals has provisionally scheduled a hearing for the appeal on October 4 and has ruled that legal proceedings in this case cannot continue until after that appeal has been decided.

As things stand, then, Trump and his co-defendants will get their hearing just one month before the general election. Although it is likely to expedite its decision on the appeal, the court will have until mid-March 2025 to issue a ruling – after which the losing party can petition the Georgia Supreme Court.

Trump and Fani Willis on the Ballot

Trump is, of course, the presumptive GOP nominee for president – and Willis will also be facing an election. The case against Trump in Georgia will not be concluded before the nation chooses its next president. Then again, that was always an unlikely scenario, but this latest development effectively guarantees Willis cannot beat the election clock. Judge McAfee had planned to move forward with pretrial motions while the appeal was pending, but the appeals court ruling prevents him from doing so.

It was McAfee who set this process in motion. Trump and the eight other defendants initially tried to get him to remove Willis from the case. McAfee decided there was no conflict of interest. He did say, however, that “reasonable questions” remain about the truthfulness of testimony from both Willis and Wade. Therefore, he granted Trump and his co-defendants the opportunity to appeal his own decision.

If Trump loses the election, he may still be many months away from seeing the inside of a courtroom. If he prevails in November, though, Fani Willis may well see all her time and effort – and the taxpayers’ money – go up in smoke.

Read More From Graham J Noble

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