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Court halts Georgia Trump case until Willis appeal decided

Former President of the United States Donald Trump at the "Rally to Protect Our Elections" hosted by Turning Point Action at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix, Ariz., July 24, 2022. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Fulton County’s election interference case against former President Donald Trump ground to a halt Wednesday as the state Court of Appeals issued an order staying any further work until appeals are decided.

This means that Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who had planned to continue working on the case, will have to wait until it is sent back to him. The appeals court is considering whether to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis and her office from the case because of her romance with the outside attorney she hired as a Trump special prosecutor. The court is also weighing an appeal by the DA’s office which wants to reinstate six of the criminal counts in the racketeering indictment which McAfee dismissed.

“This means there is no way the trial will be held prior to the November elections,” said Marietta attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who represents defendant Mike Roman and first brought the Willis disqualification challenge. “That’s significant because the state has been pushing for a trial date.”

The appeals court, if it agrees to hold oral arguments, has indicated it will do so some time in the fall, and it must issue its decision by mid-March.

Defense attorney Don Samuel, who represents defendant Ray Smith, an Atlanta lawyer, said he was not surprised by the appeals court’s decision.

“I don’t think they are sending a signal or anything by doing this,” he said of the appellate judges. “Basically, the court is saying we are going to litigate this case in one court at a time and it’s now in the Court of Appeals.

This is a developing story. Please return to for updates.

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