The case against former President Donald Trump took a wild turn this week as an Atlanta-area judge reaffirmed his decision to hold a hearing over allegations of an improper personal relationship between Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis and the lead prosecutor on the case.
Judge Scott McAfee’s decision to move forward with a hearing on Thursday, despite Willis’ attempts to cancel it, is a major blow to the district attorney. Trump, who has a scheduled appearance in New York on the same day, is reportedly planning to attend the hearing, making it his first court appearance in the racketeering case since being indicted in August.
It’s no surprise that Trump is eager to attend the hearing, as it will provide an opportunity to watch as Willis’s personal life and professional integrity are scrutinized and questioned. The former president has made a habit of using courtrooms as campaign stops, casting his 91 felony charges as political persecution and attacking the prosecutors and judges involved. This tactic has only bolstered his support among Republicans as he vies for the 2024 presidential nomination.
But Thursday’s hearing could also provide an early glimpse of what a multi-defendant trial could look like, as at least one other co-defendant, former Georgia GOP chairman David Shafer, is expected to attend. With Trump’s attendance, chaos, and media attention are sure to follow, further politicizing an already contentious case.
Bad day for GA prosecutor Fani Willis who tried to get out of a hearing on whether she accepted kickbacks from her affair partner/special counsel. Judge McAfee (who is overseeing Willis’s case v Trump): “because I think it’s possible that the facts alleged by defendant could…
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) February 12, 2024
The focus of the hearing, according to McAfee, will be on whether Willis benefited financially from her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade when their relationship began, and whether it continues. McAfee even noted that disqualification could occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an “actual conflict or appearance of one.” This admission from the court speaks volumes about the seriousness of the allegations against Willis.
It all started when Trump’s co-defendant, former campaign worker Mike Roman, accused Willis and Wade of being involved in an “improper, clandestine personal relationship” that had financially benefited them both. As the evidence mounts against Willis, it’s clear that the district attorney could potentially face serious consequences and even disbarment if these allegations are proven true.
As Trump’s lawyer, Steve Sadow requested a private meeting with McAfee, news broke that the former president was planning to attend the hearing. This will surely add even more fuel to the already fiery situation. And with Trump’s legal team already making their case against Willis and seeking disqualification, it’s clear that this hearing could have major repercussions for the district attorney and the entire election interference case.
🚨 BREAKING: Trump plans to attend Georgia hearing on misconduct allegations against Fani Willis
Master Troll pic.twitter.com/VIU0xO3D2C
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) February 13, 2024
But it’s not just Willis who is under fire – Wade’s qualifications as a special prosecutor have also come into question. However, McAfee made it clear that this issue would not be entertained at the hearing, stating that it is at the discretion of the district attorney to hire anyone with “a heartbeat and a bar card.” So while Wade’s qualifications may not be on the table, the evidence of a potential conflict of interest between him and Willis certainly is.
JUST IN: The judge in the Georgia case against President Trump says he thinks DA Fani Willis could be disqualified from the case because of her relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade.
“[The motion] alleges a personal relationship that resulted in a financial benefit to… pic.twitter.com/4zyUOie6OP
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) February 12, 2024
In the end, Thursday’s hearing could be a game-changer for the election interference case against Trump. His attendance, along with that of other co-defendants, will surely make it a spectacle to behold. As the allegations against Willis and Wade continue to swirl, the outcome of this hearing could have far-reaching consequences for the future of the case and those involved. Keep popping that popcorn, folks – this is one legal showdown you won’t want to miss.