Former president Donald Trump’s legal team is arguing that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from his election interference case in Georgia, citing “extrajudicial racial comments.”
In a response to her latest filing, Mr Trump’s attorneys, Steve Sadow and Jennifer Little, filed a motion on Wednesday accusing Ms Willis of having “inappropriately injected race into the case and stoked racial animus” when she gave a speech at Big Bethel AME Church, a historic Black church in Atlanta, on Martin Luther King Jr Day.
In the speech, Ms Willis defended Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor hired to lead the case, with whom rumors had recently flared of her having a romantic relationship. In a court filing on Friday, Ms Willis admitted to a “personal relationship” with Mr Wade, but claimed it did not begin until after his hiring, and argued there had been no impropriety that justified removing them from the case.
Ms Willis did not mention Mr Wade by name in her speech, but said she had hired three lawyers — two white, and one Black — for the case, and that only the Black man had had his qualifications called into question.
“All three of these special counselors are superstars,” Ms Willis said, according to a transcript of her remarks published by Atlanta News First. “But I’m just asking God, is it that some will never see a Black man as qualified, no matter his achievements?”
In Wednesday’s motion, which was published by the Lawfare Institute, Mr Trump’s attorneys called the remarks made by Ms Willis “undeniably unethical.”
“Her MLK holiday ‘church speech’ intentionally and in bad faith injected race, religion, and politics into the case and stoked racial animus by, among other statements, asking God why defense counsel and 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 motion states.
On 15 February both Ms Willis and Mr Wade are expected to testify in response to the calls to disqualify them from the case, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.