ATLANTA – A group of attorneys and ethics experts have filed a motion to defend the Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis like former President Donald Trump t callshcourt to remove him from office from his interference in Georgian elections.
In the lawsuit, 17 signatories argued that allegations that Willis benefited financially from a personal relationship with special counsel Nathan Wade were not grounds for dismissal.
“We have no independent knowledge of whether there were personal relationships at the time of recruitment or whether the total cost of personal relationships was approximately equally balanced,” read Willis’ defense motion. “But even if all of Defendants’ allegations are true, they do not mandate disqualification here. Indeed, they don’t come close.”
“Giving a romantic partner a gift from one’s income is normal in the context of marriage or other romantic relationships,” the petition states. “Neither the association nor the alleged financial benefit with DA Willis warrants disqualification under Georgia law.”
A spokeswoman for the DA’s office said neither Willis nor his office requested the plea, and they only learned about it when the plea was filed.
Among the signatories are Sarah Saldana, former director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Obama administration; Brad Wendel, Professor of Law at Cornell University; and Georgetown University Law Professor Abbe Smith.
An attempt to impeach Willis was first made in January by Trump’s co-defendant Michael Roman, and later accepted by former president and co-defendant Michael Cheeley.
In lawsuit Last week, Willis admitted to having a personal relationship with Wade, while in his office he said that the defendants have not established a “genuine conflict of interest” and that District Attorney Willis or Special Prosecutor Wade have not shown any personal or financial motivation in their handling of the case. Wade admitted in his deposition that he had a personal relationship with Willis, although he said they did not have a personal relationship when he was hired to work on the case.
A motion filed this week by Willis’ defense also urged the court to consider that “disqualification imposes significant costs” and that “in all but the most egregious cases, prosecutors are trusted to carry out their duties despite competing interests.”
Joining the motion to dismiss, Trump’s legal team also called on Willis’ Martin Luther King Jr. During his speech, Day claimed he “falsely injected racial animosity” into the case, which Trump’s lawyers argued potentially tainted the jury.
“DA Willis’ comments that did not target a specific defendant and his failure to comment on the guilt of any defendant (or indeed the merits of the case) are not grounds for disqualification,” the filing, filed by attorneys and ethics experts, countered.
Blayne Alexander reported from Atlanta. Megan Lebovitz reported from Washington.