Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee announced that he will proceed with an evidentiary hearing on Thursday to review a motion brought by a co-defendant of Trump. The motion seeks to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her office from handling the prosecution of the 2020 election interference case in Georgia. Additionally, the motion requests the dismissal of all charges against the co-defendant.
Michael Roman, a former Republican National Committee staffer, claimed that Willis had engaged in a questionable relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. According to Roman, Willis paid Wade over $650,000 for his work in the D.A.’s office and allegedly reaped financial benefits from their association, including trips and cruises.
Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the Trump election interference case, has refused to dismiss the subpoenas for Willis, Wade, and other witnesses to testify on Thursday. However, it remains uncertain whether they will indeed be compelled to testify. McAfee has stated that he will make a final ruling on this matter once the hearing progresses further on Thursday.
According to Judge McAfee, an evidentiary hearing is necessary to address the possibility that the alleged facts could lead to disqualification. The purpose of this hearing is to establish a record regarding the core allegations.
According to him, the issues that need to be addressed include determining if there was a relationship, whether it was romantic or not, when it started, whether it is still ongoing, and if any personal benefits were gained from the relationship.
However, he also mentioned that certain arguments presented by Roman’s attorney are not pertinent. For instance, the claim that Wade lacks experience in dealing with racketeering cases similar to the Trump case.
According to McAfee, a lawyer’s appointment to a case is completely at the discretion of the D.A., as long as they have a heartbeat and a bar card.
Furthermore, he has not discovered any breaches of the Fulton County case law code that would be applicable in a motion to disqualify a prosecutor for an ongoing criminal case.
Anna Cross, an attorney representing the Fulton County D.A., made efforts to dismiss motions requesting witness testimonies from Willis and Wade. Cross argued that the defense was not presenting valid legal arguments, but rather relying on hearsay and rumors. She firmly stated that the court should not support such tactics. In addition, Cross pointed out that the D.A.’s office had already argued in its previous brief that there was no valid reason to dismiss the indictment. Furthermore, she emphasized that none of the witnesses subpoenaed possessed any relevant information.
In August, Trump and over a dozen of his associates were indicted by a grand jury in Fulton County. The charges included election fraud, racketeering, and other offenses linked to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Among the 19 individuals charged, four have already pleaded guilty, including three lawyers who were involved in the campaign to undermine the election in Georgia. However, Trump and the remaining defendants have maintained their plea of not guilty.
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