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Former Atlanta prosecutor says he expects Trump to be tried in Georgia even if he wins the White House

Former Atlanta prosecutor says he expects Trump to be tried in Georgia even if he wins the White House
CNN’s Kaitlan Collins interviews Nathan Wade on Wednesday, June 12. (CNN via CNN Newsource)

By Kaitlan Collins, Zachary Cohen and Jason Morris, CNN

(CNN) — Former special counsel Nathan Wade says he believes Donald Trump will “absolutely” be tried in Georgia in the 2020 election subversion case — even if he wins a second term and is in the White House at the time.

Wade resigned from the case in March amid allegations of an inappropriate romantic relationship with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, but said in an exclusive interview on CNN’s “The Source” that he remains close friends with her.

The question of whether a sitting U.S. president can be forced to stand trial on state-level criminal charges has never been debated. Wade said in the interview Wednesday that he expects prosecutors and defense attorneys will face this unprecedented scenario if Trump wins the 2024 election.

Asked whether Trump could face trial in the Peach State during a second term, Wade said, “I really believe he can.”

“I don’t think it’s… it’s looking good for the rest of the world. But I certainly don’t think there’s anything that would prevent that,” Wade said.

He added: “If he wins the election, then there are certainly lawyers who will be charged with getting to the bottom of that issue and maneuvering around it.”

Wade’s interview comes as the Georgia Court of Appeals has stayed the case against Trump and his co-defendants until a panel of judges decides whether Willis should be removed from the case. Trump, who has sought to delay legal issues until at least 2025, has argued that her affair with Wade should also disqualify her.

The court’s recent order to pause the case is the latest indication that a trial will not take place before November’s presidential election. The appeals court is expected to rule on the disqualification issue in March 2025, although it could rule sooner.

Willis, in a new filing Wednesday, asked the state appeals court to dismiss the appeal of Judge Scott McAfee’s original order due to a “lack of sufficient evidence.”

“Now that the case is on the docket, the State of Georgia, through and through Atlanta Judicial Circuit District Attorney Fani T. Willis, is moving to dismiss the appeal as imprudently granted due to the lack of sufficient evidence based on the express factual findings of the court, supporting the reversal of the order at issue,” the filing from the district attorney’s office said.

Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead attorney in Georgia, called Willis’ motion to dismiss the appeal a “last ditch effort.”

On Wednesday, Wade pushed back on criticism that his relationship with Willis was responsible for delaying Trump’s trial.

“I don’t believe my actions played a role at all,” he told CNN. “I believe in the indictment. I certainly would never have done anything that would have jeopardized that work. I really think the timing of the personal relationship I had was bad.

“This prosecution has nothing to do with the voters and their opinions on whether or not this charge is justified. It has everything to do with the rule of law,” he added.

District Court Judge Scott McAfee had previously ruled that Willis could remain on the case if Wade withdrew, prompting his dismissal.

The judge’s decision came after several days of gathering testimony and evidence on defense attorneys’ claims that Wade and Willis had had an inappropriate relationship, which they alleged financially benefited the district attorney.

McAfee noted in his ruling that “Georgia law does not allow for an actual conflict to arise simply from making bad choices – even repeatedly.”

Still, the judge wrote in his decision that “an odor of mendacity lingers” about the circumstances of their relationship and that Willis or Wade should leave the case.

Wade announced his resignation shortly after the ruling.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

The CNN Wire
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