Georgia appeals court to weigh Fani Willis' role in Trump case in October

FILE PHOTO: Trump prosecutor hearing in Atlanta

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Georgia appeals court will hear arguments in October on whether to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from prosecuting Donald Trump for trying to overturn his 2020 defeat, a schedule that will likely postpone that trial until after the Nov. 5 election.

At issue is whether the prosecution is tainted as a result of Willis' past affair with her one-time top deputy whom she hired to work on the probe.

Trump's legal team has sought to use the affair as a reason to try to derail the case but the judge overseeing the trial said in March that Willis could remain on the case.

The Georgia election interference case is one of three criminal trials that Trump still faces, though all three have been delayed for a variety of reasons.

Last week, Trump became the first former president in U.S. history to be convicted of a crime after a jury in New York City found him guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in the weeks before the 2016 election.

The Georgia appeals court did not specify when in October it will hear arguments on whether to disqualify Willis, but the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the case will be heard Oct. 4.

Willis is also separately expected to ask the court to overturn a lower court ruling that dismissed several counts against Trump in the 2020 election subversion case on the grounds that the indictment was not detailed enough to sustain those charges.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Rod Nickel)