Trump moves to disqualify Fulton DA Willis — again

Former President Donald Trump renewed his attempt to disqualify Fulton County’s district attorney from overseeing the 2020 election investigation just weeks before she’s expected to seek state charges against him.

In a court motion filed Thursday, Trump’s lawyers claimed DA Fani Willis has a conflict of interest and should be removed from the case because she is using the probe as a way to attract campaign donations.

“She is fundraising for her reelection campaign on the back of this case,” they argued.

The motion raises claims brought in previous filings and is considered a long shot based on recent court decisions. It seeks to bar Willis from using evidence obtained from a special purpose grand jury and requests that their final report be quashed. The 23-member panel heard testimony from about 75 witnesses last year and recommended multiple indictments.

“(Trump) cannot sit on his hands while a prosecutor with a disqualifying personal interest uses unconstitutionally obtained evidence to drag him ultimately into a courtroom,” said the motion, filed by attorneys Drew Findling, Marissa Goldberg and Jennifer Little.

Atlanta lawyers are from left to right; Marissa Goldberg, Drew Findling, and Jennifer Little at their office, Wednesday, May 31, 2023, in Atlanta. These are President Donald Trump’s Atlanta lawyers. (Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

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Credit: Jason Getz /

A spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the filing. Willis has indicated she will ask a recently seated grand jury to hand up an indictment some time in August.

Trump’s lawyers recently filed a similar motion — called writs of mandamus and prohibition — against both Willis and Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney, who oversaw the special grand jury. But the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously declined to hear the motion and indicated that, if it had agreed to do so, the motion would have failed.

Trump’s attorneys then sought relief in Fulton County Superior Court and it was assigned to Superior Court Judge Shukura Ingram. But in an order issued Thursday, Chief Judge Ural Glanville recused all of Fulton’s judges. His order also included a footnote that was dismissive of Trump’s bid to disqualify Willis and bar her from using evidence obtained by the special grand jury.

Glanville said a judge from Georgia’s 7th Judicial Circuit, which encompasses 14 counties across the northwestern part of the state, will be assigned to hear Trump’s motion.

The motion highlights the spike in campaign donations Willis received in the latter half of 2022, and particularly that July, as the special grand jury was subpoenaing and hearing testimony from high-profile witnesses and South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham was publicly fighting his summons.

They connected that surge of donations — which mostly came from out of state — to a series of tweets that began on July 11, 2022, when Adam Parkhomenko, a Democratic political strategist not connected to Willis’s campaign, asked his social media followers to donate to her re-election bid and follow her Twitter account.

“She is exactly the kind of candidate we must not only elect but re-elect,” Parkhomenko tweeted, adding in a subsequent post that “Republicans will do everything they can to stop her when she is up for re-election.”

Trump’s team highlighted Willis’s response to Parkhomenko a few days later, in which her campaign account noted its increase in Twitter followers.

“Adam, I am so humbled by your support,” Willis’s campaign tweeted. “This week has been amazing! 60k- WOW. THANK YOU.”

“For a district attorney to personally request donations and followers based on the prosecution or investigation of one named individual, especially when it heightens public condemnation of the accused, is clear evidence of conflict,” Trump’s motion contended. “The district attorney’s desire to fund her reelection incentivizes her to pursue (Trump) more aggressively than she otherwise might.”

In a response to Trump’s original motion this spring, Willis and one of her deputies argued that most of the former president’s arguments to disqualify her and block the special grand jury’s evidence “are barred by lack of standing, untimeliness, and other procedural flaws, and any remaining arguments are without merit.”

They said his filing was premature given that no one has been indicted yet. If Trump is ultimately charged, they said, “the justice system ensures (he) will have no shortage of available remedies to pursue.”