The judge overseeing the election subversion case against former President Donald Trump in Georgia ruled Friday that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could remain as lead prosecutor, with one major stipulation.

Willis, who was previously accused of having inappropriate relations with Special Assistant District Attorney Nathan Wade, whom she hired on the case, denied that their relationship had begun before his hiring and that Willis did not benefit financially from Wade.

Following a three-day hearing last month, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said that due to a “significant appearance of impropriety,” Willis and her team could remain on the case under one clear condition: Wade could not.

In the hours after the judge’s ruling Friday morning, Willis’s office confirmed Wade’s resignation on the case. In his resignation letter to Willis, Wade said his decision was “in the interest of democracy,” per ABC News.

“Although the court found that ‘the Defendants failed to meet their burden of proving that the District Attorney acquired an actual conflict of interest,’ I am offering my resignation in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public, and to move this case forward as quickly as possible,” Wade said.

Judge McAfee’s Friday ruling

Until a decision was made, McAfee said the prosecution was not allowed to continue with the case.

“Without sufficient evidence that the District Attorney acquired a personal stake in the prosecution, or that her financial arrangements had any impact on the case, the Defendants’ claims of an actual conflict must be denied,” McAfee wrote in the ruling.

“This finding is by no means an indication that the Court condones this tremendous lapse in judgment or the unprofessional manner of the District Attorney’s testimony during the evidentiary hearing,” he added. “Rather, it is the undersigned’s opinion that Georgia law does not permit the finding of an actual conflict for simply making bad choices — even repeatedly — and it is the trial court’s duty to confine itself to the relevant issues and applicable law properly brought before it.”

The judge acknowledged that to make a “judgment totally free of any compromising influences” and for the benefit of the case moving forward, “As long as Wade remains on the case, this unnecessary perception will persist.”

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One of Trump’s co-defendants, former White House and campaign staffer Michael Roman, whose attorney Ashleigh Merchant initially filed the complaint against Willis and Wade, commented on the judge’s ruling, per NBC News.

“While we believe the court should have disqualified Willis’ office entirely, this opinion is a vindication that everything put forth by the defense was true, accurate and relevant to the issues surrounding our clients’ right to a fair trial,” she said. “The judge clearly agreed with the defense that the actions of Willis are a result of her poor judgment and that there is a risk to the future of this case if she doesn’t quickly work to cure her conflict.”

Should Willis and her team step aside, the case could be significantly delayed, potentially after the 2024 presidential election, while the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia searches for a replacement attorney to handle the proceedings.

“Doing so would be a difficult, arduous process, since only a few district attorneys in the state have the resources to take on such a high-profile case,” according to Axios. However, “The allegations against Willis and Wade don’t change the current facts of the case she brought against Trump. He faces more than half a dozen counts in the Georgia case related to his alleged efforts to subvert 2020 election results.”

Trump and 18 others were charged with a combined 41 counts, including racketeering charges in the Georgia case, with three who have already reached plea deals. Earlier this week, McAfee dropped six of the charges “related to RICO (the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), saying they did not have enough evidence for the defense to gather a case against the accusations,” Deseret News previously reported.