Georgia Fani Willis Removal from Prosecuting Donald Trump
Judge Willis defends hiring Nathan Wade, accused of a romantic relationship and benefiting from paid vacations. Removal options are discussed.
District Attorney Fani Willis has come under scrutiny for her hiring of Nathan Wade, who has limited experience as a prosecutor and has not explicitly denied a romantic relationship. These allegations were brought to light by defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who is representing Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign staffer and White House aide.
Merchant claims that Willis' office paid Wade large sums of money and that Willis benefitted improperly when Wade used those funds to pay for vacations for the two of them. While there is no proof of the alleged relationship, a filing from Wade's wife in their divorce case includes credit card records showing that Wade purchased plane tickets for Willis to accompany him on trips to Miami and San Francisco.
Despite these allegations, Willis, a Democrat, has shown no intention of stepping down from her role. However, there are several options that could result in her removal.
Firstly, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has the authority to remove Willis and Wade, along with their offices, from any further prosecution of the case. Another judge, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, took similar action in July 2022 when he presided over the special grand jury investigation preceding an indictment in an election case.
Another possibility is that Willis could recuse herself from the case, leading her entire office to step away as well. In this scenario, the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia would be responsible for finding another prosecutor to take on the case. However, finding a prosecutor willing and able to handle such a complex case could be challenging.
Moreover, some Republicans have proposed impeaching and removing Willis, an idea that former President Trump has endorsed. However, Georgia's General Assembly hasn't impeached anyone in over 50 years, and a two-thirds majority of the state Senate is required to convict.
The State Bar of Georgia, which regulates lawyers, has also adopted special rules governing prosecutorial misconduct. While these rules primarily address a prosecutor's duty to disclose evidence, Willis could potentially face consequences from the bar if found to have engaged in any misconduct.
Additionally, Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis has demanded information from Willis regarding how county funds were spent and whether any payments to Wade were converted for her personal gain. This could lead to potential budget cuts for Willis in the future.
In light of these allegations, Republican state Sen. Greg Dolezal has proposed a special Senate committee to investigate Willis, with the goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in the justice system. Ultimately, the future of Willis' position remains uncertain as these various options and allegations continue to unfold.