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Trump asks appeals court to review ruling allowing Fani Willis to remain on Georgia election case

ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Donald Trump and other defendants accused of illegally trying to interfere in the 2020 election in Georgia on Friday submitted a formal application to appeal a judge’s ruling allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain on the case.

Trump and other defendants had tried to get Willis and her office tossed off the case, saying her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade created a conflict of interest. Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee earlier this month found that there was not a conflict of interest that should force Willis off the case but said that the prosecution was “encumbered by an appearance of impropriety.”

McAfee’s ruling said Willis could continue her prosecution if Wade left the case, and the special prosecutor resigned hours later. Lawyers for Trump and other defendants then asked McAfee to allow them to appeal his ruling to the Georgia Court of Appeals, and he granted that request.

The filing of an application with the appeals court is the next step in that process. The Court of Appeals now has 45 days to decide whether it will take up the matter.

The allegations that Willis had improperly benefited from her romance with Wade upended the case for weeks. Intimate details of Willis and Wade’s personal lives were aired in court in mid-February, overshadowing the serious allegations in one of four criminal cases against the Republican former president. Trump and 18 others were indicted in August, accused of participating in a wide-ranging scheme to illegally try to overturn his narrow 2020 presidential election loss to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia.

Willis used Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, law, an expansive anti-racketeering statute, to charge Trump and the 18 others. Four people charged in the case have pleaded guilty after reaching deals with prosecutors. Trump and the others have pleaded not guilty.

Kate Brumback, The Associated Press





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