Fani Willis Gets Surprise Win in Trump Election Interference Case

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jun 12, 2024

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has received a surprise win in a legal case revolving around former President Donald Trump’s election interference case.

According to Judge Scott McAfee, one of these cases against a co-defendant can proceed — even as other co-defendants appeal the recent ruling that has allowed Willis to remain a part of the prosecution.

Defendants Want Willis Off the Case

This latest win comes as many co-defendants of the Donald Trump election interference case are attempting to appeal the judge’s ruling that Willis can continue to be on the prosecution.

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This decision by the judge came after it was revealed that Willis was in a romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

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Willis and Wade

After this relationship was revealed, an evidentiary hearing occurred. During this hearing, Willis testified that she was indeed in a relationship with Wade. However, she also stated that this romance did not begin before she hired him to be a special prosecutor on this case.

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The defendants’ lawyers have pushed the idea that Wade was only hired because he was in a relationship with Willis, something both Wade and Willis have denied.

The Judge’s Decision

After this hearing, Judge McAfee ruled that Willis could stay a part of the prosecution as the district attorney. However, he also decided that Willis would only be able to remain if Wade stepped down.

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Wade did exactly that only a few hours after this ruling. Though this issue has seemingly been resolved by the judge, the co-defendants have appealed this decision and want Willis completely removed.

An Indefinite Halt

The Georgia Court of Appeals placed an indefinite halt on all trial proceedings that revolve around this election interference case.

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This has resulted in cases against Trump, as well as other co-defendants, being put on pause until the appeals court can decide on whether Willis should stay on the prosecution or not.

Willis’ Recent Win

However, despite all of these many setbacks that Willis has had to face, she’s recently received a surprise win in at least one of these election interference cases revolving around Trump.

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Judge McAfee has ruled that co-defendant Misty Hampton’s pretrial proceedings can go forth and continue, even though many other co-defendants are awaiting an appeal.

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Hampton’s Request

McAfee’s decision came after Hampton requested to pause her pretrial proceedings. Hampton was the former Coffee County elections director.

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She has requested this pause “out of an abundance of caution”, pointing to what the appeals court may rule in the next year.

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Confusion Over Appeals Court

Hampton further claimed that it’s not clear what the appeals court paused and whether this halt pertains to all proceedings of the case.

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Hampton’s attorney, John Monroe, stated the same in a motion. “Perhaps, more importantly, however, the cases on appeal will address whether the current prosecution’s staff is even permitted to prosecute the co-defendants,” Monroe wrote. “If the Court of Appeals rules that the District Attorney and her staff are disqualified, such a ruling (which would be binding on this Court) would apply to the entire case in this Court, including the prosecution of Defendant.”

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The Judge’s Ruling

McAfee responded to this motion by explaining that the defendant should not have the entire case paused or halted because of the appeals court.

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“Absent complete dismissal, such an outcome will still leave a pending indictment with several statutory and constitutional challenges awaiting resolution—many of which are fully briefed, argued, and may also benefit from appellate review,” the judge said. “At this time, the undersigned does not believe a complete stay is the most efficient course.”

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Charges Against Hampton

As the former Coffee County elections director, Hampton is being charged with allegedly being present at an elections office in the county when some Trump supporters illegally accessed voting information and data.

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Currently, she faces seven charges. However, she has pleaded not guilty.

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Other Cases Could Continue

Even as some co-defendants await the appeals court to look at this case — and potentially remove Willis from the prosecution — this latest move by Judge McAfee could hint that the judge is willing to allow some election interference cases to move forward.

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Hampton is one of these cases. Six other co-defendants could also see their proceedings continue in the near future.

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Willis’ Next Steps

While Willis has received this surprise win, the district attorney still has a long road ahead of her when it comes to all of the Trump election interference cases.

Donald Trump talking behind a podium and microphone.

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The Georgia Court of Appeals has set a hearing date of October 4 to take up this case on whether Willis should stay on the prosecution or not. The court’s ruling won’t occur until March 2025.

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