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Trump Georgia hearing drama as Fani Willis testifies: Live

Fani Willis accuses prosecution of ‘lying’ as she takes stand

There was a dramatic moment in court on Thursday when Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis dropped her objection to a subpoena and testified. Judge Scott McAfee had already heard testimony from prosecutor Nathan Ward with whom Ms Willis had a relationship.

Knowledge of the couple’s time together led to the hearing to disqualify them brought by defendants in the sprawling racketeering case concerning Donald Trump’s efforts to interfere with the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Ms Willis repeatedly called out “lies” told by the lawyers for the defendants, noting that it was their clients who were actually “on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020” and not her.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump appeared in court in New York for a pre-trial conference on Thursday morning as part of Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg’s case alleging that he knowingly falsified business records in 2016 in order to conceal “hush money” payments made on his behalf to porn star Stormy Daniels.

After the former president raged at the basis of the trial, Judge Juan Merchan swiftly denied his motion to dismiss the case and set jury selection for 25 March.

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Earlier: Frustrated Trump judge sets hush money trial date as he throws out bid to dismiss case

The former president will stand trial on 25 March, what will likely be the first trial among the four criminal cases against him, as well as the first criminal trial against any current or former president.

With Mr Trump in attendance, New York Judge Juan Merchan held a pretrial hearing on Thursday in which he confirmed that the trial would go ahead as planned on the previously scheduled court date and rejected the former president’s attorneys’ attempts to dismiss the case altogether.

Alex Woodward reports from the courtroom in Lower Manhattan:

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 01:30

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Trump co-defendant warned he could be removed from court after laughing at testimony

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 01:00

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‘It’s very hard to be sarcastic’: Trump claims he deliberately confused Haley and Pelosi

Donald Trump has tried to claim that he intentionally confused Nikki Haley and Nancy Pelosi during a rally address last month when he falsely stated that his rival for the Republican presidential nomination had been in charge of Capitol security in Washington, DC, on 6 January 2021, rather than the then-House speaker.

The former president made the original blunder in New Hampshire on 19 January ahead of that state’s GOP primary – which he nevertheless went on to win – wrongly telling the crowd during an anecdote about the Capitol riot: “Nikki Haley is in charge of security. We offered her 10,000 people, soldiers, National Guard, whatever they want. They turned it down.”

The gaffe came a day after Mr Trump had confused Joe Biden with Barack Obama and prompted Ms Haley, whom he has nicknamed “Birdbrain”, to question his mental wellbeing, given that she was not even in DC that day, let alone responsible for its policing.

Joe Sommerlad has the story:

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 00:30

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Moment Fani Willis slams down prosecution’s evidence in heated testimony

Oliver O’Connell16 February 2024 00:14

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Cash, objections and overseas trips: Key revelations from Trump prosector Fani Willis’ hearing

Thursday’s courtroom painted detailed portraits of both Ms Willis and Mr Wade, showcasing two very different personalities on the stand. It also offered some clarity on their former and current relationship.

In a hearing riddled with objections, witnesses offered conflicting testimony revolving around the timeline of their romantic relationship, which Mr Wade described as “private but not a secret,” and around the friendship between Ms Willis and a former DA’s office employee.

Here are some key revelations from the heated trial:

Oliver O’Connell15 February 2024 23:50

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Fed Jan 6 case: Trump team responds to special counsel at Supreme Court over ‘immunity’ ruling

Donald Trump’s legal team has filed a 17-page reply to Special Counsel Jack Smith at the Supreme Court in which he urged the court again to uphold a lower court’s decision.

The former president’s legal team wants the court to stay the immunity decision and to reject Mr Smith’s request to expedite things.

“The issues in this appeal stand among the most complex, sensitive, and momentous that this Court will be called upon to decide. So far, they have been the subject of briefing on extremely compressed schedules, and that has caused various misstatements of law both by the Special Counsel and the lower courts. The issues warrant careful consideration on an ordinary briefing schedule.”

Here’s our earlier reporting on Special Counsel Jack Smith urging the Supreme Court for a quick start to the trial in Mr Trump’s federal election interference case:

Oliver O’Connell15 February 2024 23:35

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New: FBI ‘source’ who made bribery allegations against Biden charged with false statements

The FBI source who claimed to have information regarding alleged bribes paid to President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, has been charged with fabricating the allegations during interviews with federal agents.

David Weiss, the special prosecutor and Trump appointee who is overseeing two federal cases against Hunter Biden, obtained a grand jury indictment in the Central District of California against Alexander Smirnov on charges that he made false statements to federal investigators during his time as a confidential human source for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Oliver O’Connell15 February 2024 23:15

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Witnesses contradict one another about timeline of Fani Willis’ relationship

Oliver O’Connell15 February 2024 22:45

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‘That’s lies’: Trump prosecutor Fani Willis scolds ‘highly offensive’ attorney in fiery testimony

The Georgia prosecutor leading a sprawling election interference case against Donald Trump is on the witness stand for a hearing on allegations of misconduct levelled against her by the former president and his co-defendants – questions that could potentially disqualify them from the case.

The attorneys had already admitted to their relationship but firmly rejected the “meritless” and “salacious” allegations as “bad-faith” attempts to see her kicked off a case that Mr Trump has baselessly labelled a conspiracy against him, according to court filings.

Thursday’s hearing is scrutinizing allegations that the former couple financially benefited from Ms Willis hiring Mr Wade to prosecute the former president’s case, which charges Mr Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants as part of a “criminal enterprise” to overturn the state’s election results in 2020.

“I’ve been very anxious to have this conversation with you today,” Ms Willis told defence attorney Ashleigh Merchant. “It’s ridiculous that you lied on Monday and yet here we are. … I’m actually surprised that the hearing continued. But since it did, here I am.”

Alex Woodward15 February 2024 22:30

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Direct examination of Willis concludes, with cross-examination by her own team to begin tomorrow morning at 9am.

Defence counsel has two more witnesses after Willis tomorrow.

The DA’s office expects to call three to four witnesses to make their case which could take up to five hours.

After some logistical points, court is done for the day.

Stay tuned for our wrap of Willis’s testimony so far, and other breaking news from Trumpworld.

Oliver O’Connell15 February 2024 22:17


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