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Trump and co-defendants file motion to disqualify prosecutor Fani Willis from Georgia election interference case

The appeal argues that Nathan Wade's waiver is not sufficient to correct the appearance of wrongdoing identified by the court.

La fiscal de distrito del condado de Fulton, Fani Willis, llega para los argumentos finales de su audiencia de descalificación en el juzgado del condado de Fulton

Fani Willis (Alex Slitz / Piscina / AFP)

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Former President Donald Trump and seven co-defendants of the electoral interference case in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election initiated an appeal process against the ruling that kept Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on the case.

Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, Robert Cheeley, Michael Roman, David Shafer, Harrison Floyd and Cathleen Latham are the co-defendants who, along with Trump, filed a motion Monday asking Judge Scott McAfee for permission to appeal his ruling that rejected Willis' disqualification.

The motion argues that even though the court should have disqualified Willis after recognizing the appearance of improprieties and lack of independence in her actions. "The Court found that District Attorney Willis' actions had created an appearance of impropriety and an 'odor of mendacity' that lingers in this case, as well as the continuing possibility that 'an outsider could reasonably think that District Attorney Willis is not exercising her independent professional judgment totally free of any compromising influences.'"

The defendants argue that the relevant case law requires dismissal of the case or, at the very least, disqualification of Willis and her office. They also highlight that the resignation of Fulton County Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade is insufficient to remedy the appearance of wrongdoing identified by the court.

The motion states, "Given these facts and the current state of case law, the Court of Appeals should speak definitively to this outcome-determinative issue now."

Now, Trump and his co-defendants will have to await McAfee's response. Should the judge refuse to grant certiorari, they cannot appeal the ruling at this time. However, if their appeal is granted, it will be up to the Georgia Court of Appeals to decide, which could provide the former president with an opportunity to delay the case at a time when he faces four simultaneous criminal trials as he seeks to return to the White House.

Wade's resignation

Last week, Wade resigned as special prosecutor in the Trump case after the judge ruled that either he or Willis should drop the case to allow the prosecution against the former president to move forward following the "tremendous lapse in judgment" prosecutors made in maintaining an inappropriate romantic relationship while working on the case against Trump.

Judge invalidates charges against Trump

Last week, McAfee invalidated six of the 41 charges filed against Donald Trump and 18 other defendants in the election interference case. The judge determined that the plaintiffs, led by Willis, failed to provide sufficient legal arguments for these six counts.

Although the judge stressed that the remaining charges are not dismissed, Trump's attorney, Steve Sadow, praised the decision as a "correct application of the law" and requested that the other 35 charges also be dismissed.