Mar 15, 2024 - Politics & Policy

READ: Georgia judge slams prosecutors in Trump case for "odor of mendacity"

Judge Scott McAfee speaks into a microphone in a Georgia courtroom.

Judge Scott McAfee at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Ga., on March 1. Photo: Alex Slitz/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Fulton County judge ruled Friday that District Attorney Fani Willis or special prosecutor Nathan Wade must leave the Georgia election interference case against former President Trump.

Why it matters: The ruling, though highly critical of Willis and Wade, provides a pathway for the sprawling racketeering case against the likely GOP presidential nominee to move forward as the 2o24 election heats up.

Driving the news: Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee's ruling largely denied the defense's request to have Willis disqualified over a conflict of interest, but said the "appearance of impropriety" created by her romantic relationship with Wade required that one of them step down for the case to continue.

  • "This finding is by no means an indication that the Court condones this tremendous lapse in judgment or the unprofessional manner of the District Attorney's testimony during the evidentiary hearing," McAfee wrote.
  • "Rather, it is the undersigned's opinion that Georgia law does not permit the finding of an actual conflict for simply making bad choices – even repeatedly - and it is the trial court's duty to confine itself to the relevant issues and applicable law properly brought before it," he said.

Zoom in: McAfee, in his highly anticipated decision, did not shy away from writing with flair.

  • Neither side provided sufficient evidence for the judge to determine when exactly the relationship started, he said.
  • "However, an odor of mendacity remains," he wrote.

Read the judge's decision in full here:

Go deeper: What to know about Scott McAfee, the judge overseeing Trump's Georgia case

Go deeper