Post falsely claiming DA Fani Willis taken off Trump case predates her hearing | Fact check

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The claim: A judge removed District Attorney Fani Willis from Trump’s election fraud case in Georgia on Feb. 14, 2024

A Feb. 14 Facebook post (direct link, archive link) claims a decision was made about the eligibility of the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney prosecuting the election fraud case against former President Donald Trump.

“Breaking news,” the post’s text reads. “Judge removed Fani Willis from Trump case.”

It was shared more than 100 times in two days.

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Our rating: False

No decision has been made yet on Willis. The hearing to determine her eligibility began the day after the post was made and continued Feb. 16. The judge said he would not decide her status during the week ending Feb. 17.

Claim predates start of Willis’ eligibility hearing

Willis faces allegations of misconduct centered around her romantic relationship with the special prosecutor she hired for the case against Trump. The former president and 14 of his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges in Fulton County that they tried to steal the 2020 election in Georgia and asked a judge for Willis’ removal. Another four have pleaded guilty in the case.

But the claim in this post is false. A hearing to determine whether Willis will be removed from the case began Feb. 15 – the day after the post was made – and was still ongoing as of Feb. 16, according to multiple news outlets and livestreams of the hearing from that day. Had Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee already removed Willis, as the post claimed, those proceedings would not have taken place.

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Instead, McAfee said he would not make a ruling during the week ending Feb. 17, USA TODAY reported, because of the quantity and length of the expected testimony.

Willis acknowledged her personal relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade in a Feb. 2 court filing. She refused to step down, saying she has done nothing wrong, faces no conflict of interest and received no direct or indirect financial benefit from the relationship. She stated in the document that there is “no basis whatsoever” to dismiss the indictment or disqualify her, her office or the special prosecutor.

Trump’s case in Georgia has been a frequent subject of misinformation. Among the false claims USA TODAY has debunked are assertions that Trump had Willis “impeached” in October 2023 and that the case against the former president ended on Feb. 6.

USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post but did not immediately receive a response.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Post misleads on timing of decision on DA in Trump case | Fact check