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Georgia Court of Appeals pumps the brakes on Fulton’s 2020 election racketeering case

Stanley Dunlap, Georgia Recorder,

Former President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential election interference case in Georgia is facing another delay while an appellate court reviews the lower court’s decision.

The Georgia Court of Appeals order on Wednesday further decreases the chances that the sweeping racketeering case against Trump and 14 remaining co-defendants will reach trial prior to the looming Nov. 5 election rematch between President Joe Biden and the expected Republican nominee Trump.

The Georgia Court of Appeals agreed in April to review McAfee’s decision that rejected defense attorneys’ arguments that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed because her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade constituted prosecutorial misconduct. Willis hired Wade to lead the probe in November 2021 and she contends the relationship started after they started working on the case.

Wade resigned shortly after Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled in May that it was the only way Willis could continue prosecuting the case against the former president and his co-defendants.

Trump and the eight co-defendants’ appeal of McAfee’s ruling is tentatively scheduled to be heard by the Georgia appeals court on Oct. 4, and a decision is expected several months later. The losing party will have another deadline several weeks later to appeal a decision, which could stretch the case into next spring.

In August, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others for allegedly conspiring to overturn the 2020 Georgia presidential election results. President Joe Biden’s win was confirmed by multiple recounts and audits, and all court challenges to the result were unsuccessful.

Four other defendants have reached agreements with prosecutors that will let them avoid jail time if they cooperate as state witnesses.

The Fulton County probe is one of four investigations against Trump, who last week was convicted of 34 felonies in a New York court on charges of falsifying business records to cover up a sexual relationship with a former adult actress prior to the 2016 presidential election.

No trial dates have been scheduled in Georgia or for unrelated cases against Trump in Florida and Washington, D.C.    

Stanley Dunlap has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo.

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, the nation’s largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.

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