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Judge casts doubt on Fani Willis, signals potential of disqualification in Trump case

By Jake Beardslee · February 13, 2024

In brief…

  • Judge considers removing DA Willis from Trump election case in Georgia
  • Defense claims Willis had personal relationship with special prosecutor she hired
  • Hearing will explore nature and extent of alleged Willis-prosecutor relationship
  • Judge leaves open possibility Willis could testify later in the case
  • Defense intends to call former law partner of prosecutor as a witness
A Georgia judge will hold a hearing to investigate claims the district attorney overseeing the criminal case against Donald Trump has a conflict of interest due to an alleged personal relationship with a special prosecutor.  Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America/Wikimedia

The judge overseeing the racketeering case against Donald Trump and his allies in Georgia says District Attorney Fani Willis could potentially be disqualified from the case. During a hearing on Monday, Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee stated it is “possible” Willis may need to be removed based on allegations made by one of the defendants, Michael Roman, according to Newsweek.

Roman claims Willis had a personal relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired to help prosecute the case. Roman alleges the pair financially benefited from this relationship. “The state has admitted a relationship existed,” Judge McAfee said. “So what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit, if there even was one.”

Judge McAfee agreed to hold an evidentiary hearing on Thursday to explore the accusations further. He acknowledged it is important Willis not be the first witness but left open the possibility of her testifying later. Roman’s attorney indicated they have a witness, Terrence Bradley, who can discuss details of the Willis-Wade relationship, including when it began and if others in the DA’s office were aware.

Willis’ lawyers argued the claims are “not facts but gossip.” However, Judge McAfee clarified Thursday’s hearing will focus on determining “whether a relationship existed, whether that relationship was romantic or non-romantic in nature, when it formed and whether it continues.”