- A group of defense attorneys returned to court for the district attorney’s final hearing.
- The attorney said the revelations about her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade create an “appearance of conflict.”
Fani Willis’ future prosecuting Donald Trump in the Georgia election case hangs in the balance as lawyers began their closing arguments at his disqualification hearing on Friday.
Trump’s co-defendants have called for Willis to be kicked off the case over allegations that she hired her prosecutor Nathan Wade after she started dating him.
The first to appear in court on Friday after a series of blockbuster televised hearings was John Merchant, Ashleigh Merchant’s husband and law partner, who was the first to make explosive claims about the matter to prosecutors.
‘If this court allows this type of behavior to continue… all public confidence in the system will be shattered. “The integrity of the system will be undermined,” Merchant said.
He said a team of defense attorneys could demonstrate “an appearance of conflict” in the case, and said that alone is enough under state law.
Fani Willis’ future in prosecuting Donald Trump in the Georgia election case hangs in the balance as lawyers prepare to make their closing arguments at his disqualification hearing.
He also raised the possibility of a mistrial, which could force a time-consuming second trial in a sprawling case involving Trump and 18 co-defendants.
If the decision is overturned, “we would be granted a new trial,” he said. “It means we’re going to have to do this all over again.”
He described some of the details revealed in stunning evidence hearings about Willis having “a prosecutorial relationship with her boyfriend.” She referenced a famous statement by Supreme Court Potter Stewart in an obscenity case.
“I think you know it when you see it,” he said, of the conflict of interest in the case. Merchant said Wade and Willis failed to account for $9,247 in costs after Willis testified that he frequently used cash and kept large amounts in his home.
Willis filed charges against Trump and 18 co-defendants related to Trump’s effort to overturn the election in the state.
Attorney John Merchant raised the possibility that without a conflict determination, the entire case would have to be retried.
Attorney Craig Gillen, who represents co-defendant David Shafer, criticized Willis for playing the ‘race card’
Steven Sadow, who represents Trump, said both Wade and Willis lied when they testified that their relationship began only after Wade joined their team of prosecutors.
He said the testimony “caused real concern about its truthfulness being what is required of an attorney in this state, which is candor in court.”
Craig Gillen, a lawyer for another defendant, accused Willis of doing something “reprehensible” in his speech at an Atlanta church at a Sunday service celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. after the affair allegations first surfaced in a legal file.
‘She chose to draw the race card and the God card. That’s what she did,” Gillen said.
The attorneys appeared in court Friday after text messages between Wade’s divorce attorney, Terrence Bradley, and a lawyer for a Donald Trump co-defendant showed damning information about Wade’s affair with Willis.
Bradley, a former divorce attorney and Wade’s law partner, took the stand Tuesday, where he was shown a series of text messages in which he discussed the timeline of Willis and Wade’s relationship, one of the central issues of the trial. .
Michael Roman and other co-defendants in the Trump case are seeking to have District Attorney Fanni Willis, 53, disqualified for what they call an “inappropriate” relationship.
Attorney Richard Rice cited evidence of communications between the couple. “I don’t even think teenagers in love communicate that much,” he said, comparing his trips to the Caribbean and Napa Valley to something out of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”