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Judge McAfee Rules Willis Can Stay If Wade Goes

Matt Gluck
Friday, March 15, 2024, 9:44 AM
Judge McAfee found that the defendants failed to establish an “actual conflict of interest.”

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On March 15, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee issued an order granting in part and denying in part the motion by defendant Mike Roman and joined by eight co-defendants to disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office from the 2020 Georgia election interference case. Judge McAfee’s ruling allows Willis and her office to continue to prosecute former President Trump and his co-defendants as long as special prosecutor Nathan Wade withdraws from the case.

Judge McAfee found that “that the Defendants failed to meet their burden of proving that the District Attorney acquired an actual conflict of interest in this case through her personal relationship and recurring travels with her lead prosecutor.” However, McAfee determined that the factual record revealed an “appearance of impropriety” that requires either Wade’s removal or the disqualification of Willis’s office.

According to Judge McAfee, the defendants did not establish that Willis and Wade’s alleged conduct violated their due process rights or prejudiced them. Therefore, as the “disqualification of a constitutional officer [is not] necessary when a less drastic and sufficiently remedial option is available,” Willis’s office must be permitted to remain on the case if the state takes the “remedial” action of removing Wade from his position as special prosecutor.

You can read the Order here or below.

Matt Gluck is a research fellow at Lawfare. He holds a BA in government from Dartmouth College.

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