Trump's Georgia election fraud case delayed for months

Trump with his hands pressed together at a rally on 1 May in Wisconsin
[Getty Images]

An appeals court in Georgia has delayed Donald Trump's election interference trial until it rules on whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis can remain on the case.

Lawyers for the former US president have repeatedly sought to have Ms Willis removed from the case, arguing her romantic relationship with another prosecutor created a conflict.

Last month, the judge overseeing the case said the court found no conflict of interest and allowed the case to proceed, pending Trump's appeal. But Wednesday's decision will prevent the case from proceeding until the appeal ruling on Willis.

The Georgia Court of Appeals currently is scheduled to hear arguments on 4 October, making it highly unlikely that the case will be settled ahead of the presidential election in November.

Trump and 18 others are being prosecuted in Georgia for conspiracy to overturn the state's 2020 election results, which they deny.

The trial was nearly upended after one of the co-defendants claimed that Ms Willis was improperly benefitting from a romantic relationship with lead prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Over several tense days in court in February, Ms Willis admitted she had had a relationship with Mr Wade, but denied any benefits.

Judge Scott McAfee ultimately found in March that Ms Willis had a "serious lapse in judgment" and that the relationship damaged the case with the "appearance of impropriety".

But he ruled the case could continue with Ms Willis as long as Mr Wade resigned. Mr Wade stepped down soon after.

The appeals court has until mid-March - months after the next four-year presidential term begins in January - to issue its decision, leaving the case paused until then.

The losing side has the option to appeal the case further to the state's supreme court.

The Georgia election interference case is one of three criminal cases Trump faces, with both sides of the political aisle watching closely ahead of November's presidential election.

Last month, Ms Willis won a primary election, which means she will be the Democratic candidate in November, facing a Republican opponent.

That opponent, who was an intern in the Trump White House, faces an uphill battle to victory in the Democratic stronghold of Fulton County, which includes Atlanta.