Trump election interference case paused in Georgia

A Georgia appeals court has paused the criminal case accusing Donald Trump of seeking to subvert the 2020 election while it considers the former president's bid to disqualify lead prosecutor Fani Willis.

Wednesday's court order prevents the sprawling case against Trump and 14 co-defendants from moving toward trial while Trump appeals a judge's ruling allowing Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, to remain on the case.

It is another indication that the case, one of four facing Trump as he seeks to unseat President Joe Biden and return to the White House, will not go to trial before the November election.

Trump Verdict
Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to election interference in Georgia. (AP PHOTO)

A New York jury last week found Trump guilty of trying to cover up a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels, a verdict Trump has vowed to appeal. The two federal cases against him, for trying to overturn his defeat and mishandling classified documents after leaving office, have also been bogged down by legal challenges.

In the Georgia case, Trump and eight co-defendants are seeking to disqualify Willis' office over allegations that a romantic relationship with a former top deputy posed a conflict of interest.

Prosecutors have also signalled they will appeal a prior ruling that tossed out some criminal counts in the indictment.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case, previously signaled he would address some pre-trial legal issues during the appeal, but Wednesday's order prevents him from taking any action.

The appeal is likely to take several months to resolve. The court earlier this week scheduled oral argument in October.

Trump and the 14 co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to racketeering and other charges stemming from what prosecutors allege was a scheme to overturn Trump's narrow defeat in Georgia in the 2020 election.