Two co-defendants in former President Donald Trump’s election interference trial have filed motions seeking to remove Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the case.
Willis claimed that Trump masterminded a conspiracy both inside and outside of Georgia during the months he pushed back against the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump has said his fight against the results broke no laws.
Shafer and Latham said that the relationship Willis reluctantly acknowledged with Nathan Wade, the top prosecutor in the case, and racially charged remarks she made in January at a historic black church are grounds to disqualify her.
“All the causes for the disqualification are self-inflicted blows,” said a motion filed by lawyers for Shafer, which was adopted by Latham.
Willis has strayed “wildly from the legal guardrails that are designed to protect the accused from improper, extrajudicial comments,” per the motion.
To date, five of the 15 people awaiting trial have filed motions to disqualify Willis.
The motion said a hearing on the claims to boot Willis “is unseemly and an uncomfortable experience for all involved.”
But Willis and Wade took steps that were “completely avoidable errors in which the defense had no hand but are of such significance that the defense has no choice but to put them before the court,” the motion said.
Willis admitted last week she was in a personal relationship with Wade, but she insisted it should not mean she or her office should be removed from the case. A hearing on a motion from former Trump campaign aide Michael Roman to remove Willis is scheduled for Feb. 15. Roman was the first to claim Willis and Wade were in a relationship.
The motion said hiring Wade “to investigate and prosecute the defendants and payments to Mr. Wade of over a half a million dollars from the Fulton County treasury while allowing Mr. Wade to pay for vacations for the District Attorney and other personal expenses constitutes a disqualifying conflict of interest as well as a violation of ethical rules applicable to attorneys and Fulton County employees, and potentially criminal law,” according to Fox News.
Willis is also under fire for comments she made last month at Atlanta’s Big Bethel AME Church when she insinuated race was the reason for the focus on Wade, who is black, instead of other prosecutors who are white.
“The obvious intent of her remarks was to inject and infect the jury pool in Fulton County with unfounded allegations that anyone who dares question her or Mr. Wade’s conduct must have done so for racist purposes,” the motion said.
“These comments constitute prosecutorial, forensic misconduct and warrant her removal and that of her office from the prosecution of this case,” the motion said.
A filing from Trump last month to oust Willis said she used the speech “to make racially charged, extrajudicial statements designed to defend against, as well as divert and deflect attention from, the alleged misconduct outlined in Roman’s motion.”
The filing said that during Willis’s speech in a religious setting she “repeatedly and inappropriately injected race into the case and stoked racial animus by, among other statements, asking God why the defendants were questioning her conduct in hiring a black man but not his white counterparts, and why the judgment of a black female Democrat wasn’t as good as white male Republicans.”
The filing quoted Willis as saying, “First thing they say. Oh, she going to play the race card now? But no. God, isn’t it them who’s playing the race card when they only question one?”
The filing said Willis’s “extrajudicial comments” amount to “a glaring, flagrant, and calculated effort to foment racial bias into this case by publicly denouncing the defendants for somehow daring to question her decision to hire a black man (without also mentioning that she is alleged to have had a workplace affair with the same man) to be a special prosecutor.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.