Georgia appeals court pauses Trump election interference case

Georgia appeals court pauses Trump election interference case

A Georgia appeals court has frozen former President Trump’s criminal trial proceedings as it takes up his appeal seeking to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D), all but guaranteeing the trial will not be held before this year’s election.

In a one-page ruling issued Wednesday, the Georgia Court of Appeals issued a pause until it resolves the appeals from Trump and a handful of his co-defendants seeking to boot Willis from the prosecution over her romance with a top prosecutor.

Oral arguments are tentatively scheduled for October, meaning the case likely will not proceed to trial until after the presidential election, where Trump is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee and is hoping to retake the White House and grind his cases to a halt. A trial date had not yet been selected.

The appeals court’s decision to stay the proceedings comes as it weighs whether Willis should be removed from prosecuting the case over her relationship with a top prosecutor who was also working on the case.

The romance between Willis and then-special prosecutor Nathan Wade was put on full display during a series of hearings where they both took the stand to defend their past relationship.

Judge Scott McAfee ultimately ruled that Willis could remain on the case if Wade resigned, which he did. Both prosecutors have maintained their relationship was not improper.

Trump and several co-defendants said the Georgia judge’s decision fell short and asked the appeals court to consider the case.

“The Georgia Court of Appeals has properly stayed all proceedings against President Trump in the trial court pending its decision on our interlocutory appeal which argues the case should be dismissed and Fulton County DA Willis should be disqualified for her misconduct,” Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead Georgia defense attorney, said in a statement.

Trump and several allies are accused of attempting to subvert the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. The former president has pleaded not guilty.

Ashleigh Merchant, an attorney for 2020 Trump campaign operative Michael Roman, who brought Willis and Wade’s romance to light in an initial motion to disqualify the Fulton County district attorney from the case, praised the appeals court’s decision in a statement.

“We are happy that the Court of Appeals agrees with us that this issue is so important to this entire case that it decided to stop the case from moving forward in the trial court until the issue of whether or not Willis must be removed from the case can be decided,” Merchant said. “Mr. Roman is innocent and we hope that this misuse of the justice system will finally come to an end when a disinterested prosecutor takes over the case.”

Updated at 5:32 p.m. EDT

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.