Georgia DA Willis reportedly pushing forward with prosecution of Trump, plans to request trial start date in August

 March 22, 2024

Georgia's Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, despite facing the real threat of disqualification and removal from her 2020 election-related criminal prosecution of former President Donald Trump and others, is reportedly pressing forward with the case as if that risk didn't exist.

In fact, it was reported that Willis remains insistent that the trial begins before the November elections and is set to ask the presiding judge over the case to schedule a start date, perhaps as soon as this summer, according to the Washington Examiner.

Her bold effort to get the prosecution of the former president and his co-defendants back on track follows a two-month delay in which her previously undisclosed inappropriate romantic relationship, from which she may have improperly financially benefited, with now-former Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade took center stage instead of the criminal racketeering charges against Trump.

Willis still wants Trump trial to begin in August

CNN, citing at least three unnamed sources in DA Willis' camp, reported that Willis has seemingly looked past multiple potential obstacles to her continued prosecution of former President Trump and plans to soon as presiding Judge Scott McAfee to schedule a trial start ahead of November's election.

Willis had initially requested a trial start date in August, and since McAfee has not yet set that or any other date for the trial, she is expected to reiterate that same request. The sources further shared that Willis has claimed that she needs only 30 days to finish her final preparations before a trial, and has argued that the defense teams ought to be ready to go soon as well since they've had since September to make their own pre-trial preparations.

The outlet's sources also acknowledged that the past two months have been "damaging" to Willis and the DA's office in multiple regards, though they also seemingly dismissed it as little more than a "distraction" that is now largely behind them.

"Basically, this is a two-month sideshow that the judge should have not even let happen," one unnamed source told CNN. "But it’s over and the judge finally came to the right decision … and so now we’re back to where we never should have left, which is these people were under felony indictment. Let’s get a trial date."

Judge allows appeal of decision to not disqualify Willis

Yet, while DA Willis and her allies may believe that the "two-month sideshow" is now "over," that isn't entirely true, as the anti-Trump prosecutor still faces a possibility of being disqualified and removed from the case by the Georgia Court of Appeals.

The Hill reported Wednesday that Judge McAfee granted a request from former President Trump and other co-defendants for a "Certificate of Immediate Review" that would allow for an appeal of his recent decision to allow Willis to remain on the case, provided that Wade resigns from his position as special prosecutor, which he did that same day.

However, despite the pending appeal of his prior decision, McAfee signaled his own intention to keep moving forward in the case, as he wrote in Wednesday's brief order, "The Court intends to continue addressing the many other unrelated pending pretrial motions, regardless of whether the petition is granted within 45 days of filing, and even if any subsequent appeal is expedited by the appellate court."

One of Trump's attorneys, Steve Sadow, said McAfee's approval of an appeal was "highly significant," given that "It means the defense is permitted to apply to the Georgia Court of Appeals for pretrial review of the Judge’s order refusing to dismiss the case or disqualify Fulton County DA Willis."

"The defense is optimistic that appellate review will lead to the case being dismissed and the DA being disqualified," he added.

Willis facing multiple "hurdles" that could further derail her prosecution of Trump

According to CNN, that planned appeal from the defendants is just one of several "hurdles" DA Willis faces in getting her prosecution of former President Trump back on track, not the least of which includes her substantially damaged credibility for delivering untruthful testimony that has rendered her "politically vulnerable" as she seeks re-election in November.

Willis is also facing an ongoing investigation by Georgia Republicans over her alleged improprieties and possible subpoenas from a state Senate committee; an investigation and possible sanctions by a newly empowered state commission; new primary challengers against her re-election bid; and an eventual U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Trump's immunity claim, which should come in June and, if in Trump's favor, would likely pull the rug out from underneath her entire effort to convict and imprison the former president.

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