Embattled DA Faces Another Accusation
In the ongoing legal battle against former president Donald Trump, a fourth co-defendant has filed a motion to disqualify embattled District Attorney Fani Willis from the case. David Shafer, who is a co-defendant in the Georgia case and served as the Georgia GOP Chairman during the 2020 election, filed a motion in court on Monday claiming that Willis has engaged in a “pattern of prosecutorial, forensic misconduct” that warrants her removal from the case.
This motion follows similar allegations from co-defendant Michael Roman, who accused Willis of engaging in an “improper” relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired to prosecute the racketeering case against Trump. Roman also asked the court to disqualify Willis from the case.
In response to the allegations, Willis admitted to having a “personal” relationship with Wade but denied any conflict of interest. She argued that according to Georgia law, there must be evidence of a conflict of interest that would harm the defendant's case for a district attorney to be removed from a case.
However, Shafer's motion claims that Willis has made prejudicial public statements about the case through various media interviews and public speeches. This, according to Shafer and his lawyers, was a deliberate tactic to “inject and infect the jury pool” with biased information.
One of the incidents cited in the court filing is when Willis addressed the affair allegations at Bethel AME Church in Atlanta in January. She stated, "They only attacked one... But no God, isn’t it them that’s playing the race card when they only question one."
This statement, according to Shafer, was intended to make the jury pool believe that anyone who questions Willis or Wade's conduct is doing so out of racist intentions. Shafer and his lawyers argue that this is a clear example of prosecutorial misconduct and warrants Willis's removal from the case.
Furthermore, Shafer's motion claims that Willis's employment of Wade to investigate and prosecute the defendants, as well as the payments made to Wade from the Fulton County treasury, constitute a disqualifying conflict of interest and may also be in violation of ethical rules and potentially criminal laws.
In addition, Shafer argues that Willis's "improper and inaccurate characterization" of him and other 2020 Republican Presidential Electors as "Fake Electors" has been highly prejudicial. He points out that at the time of his indictment, he was a lawful Presidential Elector nominated by the Georgia Republican Party.
Shafer's motion also highlights Wade's inflated salary and the fact that he billed taxpayers $654,000 since January 2022. Shafer argues that this is a clear misuse of public funds and that Willis and Wade's personal relationship raises serious ethical concerns.
Shafer's lawyer, Craig A. Gillen, wrote in the court filing that he understands the discomfort of an evidentiary hearing regarding the District Attorney's misconduct and the financial aspects of her personal relationship with Wade. However, he emphasizes that Shafer, a presumptively innocent man, has had his life upended by these unwarranted and meritless charges brought by Willis.
In conclusion, Shafer and his lawyers assert that Willis's misconduct and unethical behavior have severely impacted the case and have resulted in an unfair trial for the defendants. They argue that she should be removed from the case, along with her entire office, to ensure a fair trial. The court has set a hearing on February 15th to evaluate the evidence presented by both parties and make a decision on whether Willis should be disqualified from the case. No matter the outcome, one thing is clear: this legal battle is far from over.