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‘Train is coming’ for Trump despite efforts to derail Georgia case

‘Train is coming’ for Trump despite efforts to derail Georgia case
The Georgia prosecutor overseeing Donald Trump’s election interference case in that state promised Saturday that “the train is coming” for him despite defense efforts to derail her office’s pursuit of charges against the former president and nearly two dozen co-defendants.

Fulton county district attorney Fani Willis’s remarks came after a court challenge centering on a romantic relationship that she had with a special prosecutor whom she appointed to the case, Nathan Wade. After the relationship was exposed, Wade stepped down from the prosecution to defuse any appearances of a potential conflict of interest and so Willis could stay on the case.

“I don’t feel like we have been slowed down at all” by Trump’s efforts to use the relationship with Wade to disqualify her from prosecuting him, Willis told CNN on Saturday at a Georgia Easter egg hunt. “I think there are efforts to slow down the train, but the train is coming.”

Willis’s case alleges a conspiracy to commit election fraud after Trump came up narrowly short in the state’s vote during the 2020 presidential race that he lost to Joe Biden. But it has been beset with complications.

A little more than 10 days ago, Fulton county judge Scott McAfee dismissed six counts against Trump and his co-defendants relating to an infamous phone call in which the former president urged Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to “find” more than 11,000 votes that would put Trump over Biden.

Of the 13 counts Trump faces, three of them were thrown out. McAfee essentially agreed with defense lawyers that the charges “fail to allege sufficient detail” regarding what aspect of Raffensperger’s oath of office the defendants were allegedly trying to get him to break.

But the attention on Willis, who had hired Wade to draw up the charges, continues to hang over the case. Earlier in March, McAfee held three days of hearings weighing motions to disqualify her.

Wade and Willis admitted they had been in a relationship but said it did “not amount to a disqualifying conflict of interest”. They maintained that Willis had not benefitted financially, directly or indirectly, when they took several holidays and trips together.

McAfee ruled there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove the defense’s claims but rebuked Willis for what he called a “tremendous lapse in judgment”.

Attorneys for Trump argued that Willis – who is Black – committed “appalling and unforgivable” forms of forensic misconduct by “stoking racial and religious prejudice” against the defendants after she claimed that the allegations against her had been motivated by race.

The judge later agreed that attorneys for Trump’s co-defendants are free to appeal his ruling that she could stay on the case. That proceeding is almost certain to lead to a new set of legal challenges relating to prosecutorial impropriety, actual or in appearance, around the Willis-Wade affair.

Willis told CNN that she did not feel that her professional reputation had been sullied or that she had done anything embarrassing.

“I’m not embarrassed by anything I’ve done,” Willis said. “I guess my greatest crime is that I had a relationship with a man, but that’s not something I find embarrassing in any way.”

But some questioned her decision to speak to the media after the intense attention around her personal decisions around the case have come close to derailing it entirely.

In a series of posts on X, Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis, who’s been following the case against Trump, noted that McAfee had previously threatened to impose a gag order on Willis.

“If I were Fani Willis, I would simply not talk to the media at all at this point just out of an abundance of caution,” Kreis wrote.

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