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Trump’s legal woes continue as Georgia DA faces conflict of interest allegations

The criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempts to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia has been delayed by a courtroom drama involving the district attorney and the lead prosecutor. The defense team for Trump has filed a motion to disqualify the DA and the prosecutor, claiming they have a romantic relationship that creates a financial conflict of interest.

The investigation into Trump’s phone call

The district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, Fani Willis, launched a criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election on February 10, 2021. Willis began interviewing election officials and staff working under Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in September 2021.

The investigation focuses on a phone call that Trump made to Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, in which he pressured him to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss to Joe Biden in Georgia. Trump also threatened Raffensperger with criminal charges if he did not comply. The call was recorded and leaked to the media, sparking outrage and condemnation.

Willis has said that the investigation could lead to charges of solicitation of election fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, and violation of oath of office. She has also issued subpoenas to several Trump allies, including Rudy Giuliani, Lindsey Graham, and Mark Meadows, who allegedly contacted Georgia officials to influence the election outcome.

Trump’s legal woes continue as Georgia DA faces conflict of interest allegations

The motion to remove the DA and the prosecutor

On February 18, 2024, Trump’s defense team filed a motion to remove Willis and the lead prosecutor, John Floyd, from the case. The motion alleged that Willis and Floyd have a romantic relationship that began before the investigation and that they have a financial interest in the outcome of the case.

The motion claimed that Willis and Floyd have received millions of dollars in donations from anti-Trump groups and individuals, such as George Soros, Stacey Abrams, and the Lincoln Project. The motion also accused Willis and Floyd of leaking confidential information to the media and violating Trump’s due process rights.

The motion cited a report from the special grand jury that investigated Trump’s actions after the 2020 election, which was released by a state judge on September 8, 2023. The report revealed that Willis and Floyd had exchanged over 1,000 text messages during the course of the investigation, some of which were flirtatious and suggestive.

The response from the DA and the prosecutor

On February 19, 2024, Willis and Floyd took the witness stand to deny the allegations made by Trump’s defense team. They both admitted that they had a personal relationship, but they insisted that it did not affect their professional conduct or judgment.

Willis and Floyd said that they had disclosed their relationship to their supervisors and colleagues and that they had recused themselves from any decisions involving each other’s cases. They also said that they had stopped communicating with each other once the motion was filed.

Willis and Floyd also denied that they had any financial conflict of interest or that they had leaked any information to the media. They said that the donations they received were unsolicited and unrelated to the investigation and that they had followed the law and the ethics rules in handling the case.

The ruling from the judge

The judge presiding over the case, Christopher Brasher, said that he would rule on the motion within 30 days. He said that he would consider the evidence and the arguments presented by both sides and that he would apply the legal standard of “actual prejudice” to determine if Willis and Floyd should be disqualified.

Brasher said that he would not base his decision on the appearance of impropriety or the public perception of the case, but on the actual impact of the relationship on the investigation and the prosecution. He said that he would balance the rights of the defendant with the interests of the state and the integrity of the judicial system.

Brasher also said that he would not dismiss the case or halt the investigation even if he granted the motion. He said that he would appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case and that he would ensure a fair and impartial trial for Trump.


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