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Specifically as it relates to the Trump election case in Georgia, what is the bar needed to cause disqualification? Is the appearance of impropriety enough, or does actual impropriety need to be shown? I'd appreciate an actual link to the Georgia law/case law/precedent that covers this, as opposed to a secondary source.

There's been a request for details about what sort of impropriety is being alleged, so I'll set up a neutral, slight hypothetical, where no facts are in dispute.

The impropriety being alleged is that Fani Willis (the DA) and Nathan Wade (the special prosecutor) had a kickback scheme where Willis hired Wade as a special prosecutor, and Wade compensated her by paying for expensive vacations.

Both parties (the State and Defense) agree that there was a romantic relationship (but dispute when it began) and that Wade initially paid for expensive vacations (but dispute if Wade was paid back). Willis claims that she paid Wade back in cash and the relationship started after she hired him. The defense claims that Willis is lying about both.

Now my hypothetical: Let's pretend Willis said "It's not a kickback scheme, he just pays for my vacations because he cares for me," instead of claiming that she paid him back. This denies an actual communicated kickback scheme, but it does create the appearance of a kickback scheme, as the longer the case goes, the more Wade gets paid, and the more he is able to spend it on Willis. The kickback could just be a happy coincidence, basically.

Would that be enough for a disqualification under Georgia law? Is their binding precedent about this? Does there exist a test for disqualification?

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    "Is the appearance of impropriety enough, or does actual impropriety need to be shown?" That's the whole reason for the trial. You just need to stay tuned as to what happens. Feb 28 at 0:56
  • I'm pretty sure that the trial is for determining what level of impropriety can be shown, if any. I'm curious about the threshold. Like in a civil trial it's preponderance of the evidence, but a criminal it's beyond a reasonable doubt. Or are you saying that there's no governing case law/precedent/law on what needs to be shown? Feb 28 at 1:25
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    @theresawalrus You're correct. Courts figure out what rule applies and then hold trial to see what the facts are. You can't really do it the way bluedogranch is describing; if the lawyers don't even know what the law is, how are they supposed to know what evidence to introduce to prove it was broken?
    – bdb484
    Feb 28 at 1:59
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    This very likely depends on what exactly the impropriety in question is.
    – Joe W
    Feb 28 at 2:22
  • @JoeW, I've added a quick summary of the current case, and added a quick hypothetical so we can highlight what the impropriety is without needing to speculate on what the facts in dispute are. Feb 28 at 3:10

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