(Bloomberg) -- The scandal engulfing the Georgia prosecution of Donald Trump by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis doesn’t warrant her removal from the election-interference case, a prosecutor for the DA argued Friday to the judge overseeing a misconduct hearing.

Prosecutor Adam Abbate defended Willis at a hearing to determine whether the romantic relationship she had with Nathan Wade, the lawyer she hired to lead the Trump case, amounted to a conflict of interest that requires their disqualification. After three hours of arguments, Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he hopes to rule within two weeks. 

Trump and his co-defendants claim Willis, an elected Democrat, abused her power and received improper financial benefits by paying more than $650,000 to Wade, who took her on four vacations during their affair. The televised hearings have overshadowed criminal allegations against Trump — that he tried to overturn the 2020 election results — with lurid details of the romance and questions about when it started. 

“The defendants have failed to raise any issue legally or factually to satisfy the legal standards for disqualification,” Abbate told McAfee as Willis sat in the courtroom watching the proceedings. 

Earlier in the hearing, several defense lawyers blistered Willis, saying she lied in her testimony about when the romance started and covered up crucial details. They claim that when she hired Wade in November 2021, he was already her boyfriend, meaning they had a financial interest in the outcome of the case.

“Prosecutors don’t act like this,” said Craig Gillen, a lawyer for co-defendant David Shafer. “Lawyers don’t act like this. There’s systematic misconduct, and they need to go.”

‘Genuine Concerns’

Trump attorney Steve Sadow said both Willis and Wade lied when they testified that the affair began in early 2022 and ended in mid-2023. He urged McAfee to consider mobile phone records from 2021 suggesting Wade and Willis spent several hours together on two evenings and that they texted or talked to each other 12,000 times. 

“You don’t have to make a finding of fact that they lied,” Sadow said. “All you have to do is find you have genuine concerns about their truthfulness.” 

Richard Rice, an attorney for co-defendant Bob Cheeley, mocked how much Wade and Willis texted in 2021. 

“I don’t think even lovestruck teenagers communicate that much,” Rice said. 

The judge hasn’t ruled on whether he will admit the phone records, which the DA’s office said he should exclude. 

McAfee questioned Abbate several times about the legal standard he must follow to determine whether to remove Willis, who indicted 19 defendants and secured four guilty pleas. The judge suggested he must find an appearance of impropriety. Abbate countered that Georgia law requires the higher standard of an actual conflict of interest.

The judge said the decision won’t be an easy call.

“There are several legal issues to sort through, several factual determinations that I have to make,” McAfee said. “I’ll be taking time to give the issues the full consideration they are due.” 

(Updates with details of hearing.)

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