Judge in Trump trial in Georgia allows prosecutor to stay

Judge in Trump trial in Georgia allows prosecutor to stay

Judge Scott McAfee at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 27, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia (Brynn Anderson)

The judge in Donald Trump's trial in Georgia on charges of illegal attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 US presidential election on Friday rejected the prosecutor's request for his dismissal but demanded the reorganization of his team.

Judge Scott McAfee concluded that there was insufficient evidence of a “conflict of interest” regarding the intimate relationship between prosecutor Fanny Willis and the investigator she appointed to the case, Nathan Wade. In particular, the defendants claimed that she would have benefited financially.

This decision removes a major obstacle to holding the trial of the former president and his fourteen defendants, for which a date has not yet been set. The Republican nominee in November's election against Democratic President Joe Biden, the target of four separate criminal cases, is seeking through his multiple appeals to appear in court as soon as possible, in any case after the election.

But, after concluding that there was an “appearance of inappropriate conduct” and denouncing a “significant lack of judgement” on the part of the prosecutor, the judge demanded that the case be withdrawn, either by Fanny Willis and her entire team, or by Nathan. Wade.

The latter tendered his “resignation effective immediately” in a letter a few hours later, saying he was acting “in the interest of democracy, out of loyalty to the American people, and to move the matter forward as quickly as possible.” .

The Attorney General responded in a letter by “accepting this resignation with immediate effect,” thanking him for the “courage he had to accept this assignment” despite the risks to himself and his family.

Donald Trump rejoiced on his Truth Social network that “Nathan Wade resigned in disgrace,” wishing the same fate to the special prosecutor in his two federal criminal cases.

His attorney in Georgia, Steve Sadow, responded earlier, saying, “We will use all available legal options as we continue to fight to end this process.”

– Consecutive reports –

A withdrawal from Fanny Willis would have greatly postponed this trial. In November, the public prosecutor proposed that it be opened on August 5, and requested that the remaining fifteen defendants be tried together.

The judge did not comment on a possible timetable, but indicated that he would prefer to hold two separate trials if there were still a similar number of defendants.

Four of the 19 people targeted by the indictment issued on 14 August, particularly under a law in Georgia (southeast) on organized gang crimes, have pleaded guilty.

They were given reduced sentences without imprisonment in exchange for their testimony at the future trial of the other defendants.

Trump's other defendants include his former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and the last White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows.

Moreover, in New York, the judge in charge of Donald Trump's criminal trial scheduled for March 25 in the case of hidden payments to an X-rated film actress during the 2016 election campaign has already announced a postponement until mid-April.

The Republican candidate has already been able to postpone his federal trial in Washington, which was initially scheduled for March 4, on charges of trying to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 elections, by invoking criminal immunity as a former president.

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The Supreme Court agreed to consider the matter and set a date for discussion on April 25, before a decision is expected in June, or even July, with the procedure suspended until then.

Moreover, the trial of Donald Trump for his alleged informal handling of classified documents, which was scheduled for May 20, should also be postponed for several months.

He is being tried in this case on charges of endangering national security by keeping secret documents at his private residence in Florida (southeast) after leaving the White House in January 2021.

SST/EML

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