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Will Georgia Judge Cancel Hearing On Trump Prosecutor Misconduct?

Shortly after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Wilis in Atlanta admitted in a Friday court filing that she had a personal relationship with the lawyer she appointed to lead the investigation into former president Trump and had taken vacations with him, the judge overseeing the case dashed off an email to the defense attorney who had first accused Willis of misconduct, reports the Washington Post. Willis asked Judge Scott McAfee to cancel an evidentiary hearing on the accusations, saying that the relationship did not create a conflict of interest, did not financially benefit her and should not be used by those she says criminally conspired to try to overturn the 2020 election. McAfee quickly turned to Ashleigh Merchant, who represents Trump co-defendant Mike Roman, asking why the judge should hold a hearing on the issue.

Merchant says she has evidence to dispute some of Willis’s assertions. She accused the prosecutors of trying to “escape accountability” in a case where “freedom and lives are at stake.” Canceling the hearing could allow the case to proceed, but it would also prompt outrage from Trump, who has used all four criminal cases against him as a rallying cry as he marches toward the Republican nomination for president. Moving ahead guarantees more salacious headlines about Willis’s personal life and finances that could undermine the public’s — and a future jury’s — faith in her judgment and the merits of the case. Holding the hearing leaves open the possibility that McAfee does what Merchant asked him to do when she first raised the allegations last month: remove Willis and her entire office from the case, which would almost certainly delay and potentially even scuttle the prosecution. Even if McAfee decides to cancel the hearing or not take action, the scandal is unlikely to go away. A Georgia Senate committee with subpoena power is investigating the allegations, and a member of the Fulton County governing board has suggested he might also launch an investigation. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has referred the matter to the state ethics commission for potential sanctions and has requested that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp or Attorney General Chris Carr, both Republicans, launch a criminal investigation.


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