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Appeals court halts Trump's Georgia election case while appeal on Willis disqualification pending

Election 2024
Posted at 4:56 PM, Jun 05, 2024

ATLANTA (AP) — An appeals court has halted the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others while it reviews the lower court judge's ruling allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain on the case.

The Georgia Court of Appeals' order Wednesday prevents Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee from moving forward with other matters in the case while the appeal is pending. The order will undoubtedly further delay the case because McAfee will not be able to continue to handle pretrial motions in the case as he had planned.

The appeals court on Monday docketed the appeals filed by Trump and eight others and said that “if oral argument is requested and granted” it is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 4. The court will then have until mid-March to rule, and the losing side will then be able to appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.

A Fulton County grand jury in August indicted Trump and 18 others, accusing them of participating in a sprawling scheme to illegally try to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Four defendants have pleaded guilty after reaching deals with prosecutors, but Trump and the others have pleaded not guilty. It is one of four criminal cases against Trump.

Trump and eight other defendants had tried to get Willis and her office removed from the case, arguing that a romantic relationship she had with special prosecutor Nathan Wade created a conflict of interest. Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee in March found that no conflict of interest existed that should force Willis off the case, but he granted a request from Trump and the other defendants to seek an appeal of his ruling from the state Court of Appeals.