Trump to face trial in hush money case, as Fani Willis defends romantic relationship in Georgia case 

By Abby Amoakuh

Published Feb 16, 2024 at 01:14 PM

Reading time: 3 minutes

Welcome to the 14th edition of our weekly recaps for the upcoming US presidential election! As another hectic week in US politics comes to a close, we’ve summarised the most important stories of the past few days for you, from former president Donald Trump’s upcoming trial in New York City to the case against attorney Fani Willis that has been polarising much of the US public. So, let’s get started.

Trump’s trial date for the hush money case involving Stormy Daniels was set

On Thursday 15 February 2024, New York judge Juan Merchan rejected a bid to throw out the Manhattan district attorney’s criminal charges against the former president. The case accuses Trump of falsifying financial documents to hide a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016. The case is considered quite monumental because his alleged affair with Daniels jeopardised his campaign in 2016 and will now loom as a ghost over his 2024 election bid, according to The New York Times.

The trial date is set for 25 March. Notably, the case in Manhattan, unlike the federal cases in Washington and Florida, is protected from federal intervention. Thus, Trump would not be able to pardon himself or otherwise use the presidency as a legal shield.

FBI informant charged with lying about Joe and Hunter Biden’s role in Ukraine business

FBI informant Alexander Smirnov was charged with lying about President Joe Biden and Hunter Biden’s ties to Ukrainian energy company Burisma. The Guardian reported that Smirnov falsely told FBI agents in June 2020 that executives associated with the energy company paid both Bidens’ $5 million each in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

As the US presidential elections started to loom last summer, these accusations became a central point of conversations in Congress as Republicans were on a pursuit to tarnish and impeach Biden and his family. They demanded that the FBI release the unredacted form documenting the allegations. Although it was noted at the time that it was unclear whether the allegations were true, these revelations undermine the thrust of congressional Republicans’ corruption accusations that the US president was making money from his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.

Georgia attorney Fani Willis undergoes a misconduct case that polarises the public

On Thursday 15 February, in Georgia, Fulton County, district attorney Fani Willis started to undergo a hearing in a misconduct case. The attorney, who oversees the election interference case against Trump in Georgia, could be removed from the former businessman’s case if the hearings successfully prove misconduct.

The case pertains to Willis’ relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor she hired for the Georgia case, and with whom she was romantically involved. It specifically questions her disclosure of the timeline and conditions of their relationship.

For instance, the court papers allege that Willis and Wade lived together without disclosing this to the court, which Willis dismissed as “lies” during the hearing, as reported by Reuters.

“You’re confused. You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020,” the Fulton County district attorney told lawyer Ashleigh Merchant.

Michael Roman, a co-defendant of Trump who served as his director of election-day operations initially raised the allegations that Willis lied in her statements to the court. At the moment, lawyers are suggesting that Willis financially benefited from the relationship, in the form of gifts as well as her partner’s high earnings that afforded them vacations. This could give her an incentive to prolong the prosecution.

Nevertheless, much of the public, specifically many women of colour, think that these allegations are hiding way more than that. Hollis-Palmer, a Black, 40-year-old attorney from Mississippi, for instance, stated that she was doubting the veracity of these claims.

“We just have to be so careful when we are in these positions to not give people the ammunition to come after us,” Hollis-Palmer told The New York Times. Several other women who were interviewed by the news outlet voiced similar sentiments, saying that they were observing a playbook they were very familiar with.

Glynda Carr, the leader of Higher Heights for America, an organisation that supports Black women in politics, said she had been raised with the idea that Black women are subjected to a doubled amount of scrutiny, due to racist and sexist social and political dynamics. “Yes, we have a playbook about how we have to be twice as better, that we have to dot all the is and cross the ts,” Carr explained. When the public thinks Black women have made a mistake, she added, they “fall harder on the sword.”

Keep On Reading

By Abby Amoakuh

Donald Trump’s mental fitness comes into question as Joe Biden focuses on abortion

By Abby Amoakuh

Trump’s gag order paused as Biden secures more pandas from China

By Charlie Sawyer

Will the Supreme Court banish Trump from the presidential ballot? Social media users have their say

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Donald Trump supporters attack daughter Ivanka Trump following night out with Kim Kardashian

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Dementia diagnosis for Trump? Experts weigh in as Anderson Clayton emerges as Biden’s secret weapon

By Alma Fabiani

Teacher tragically found dead at scene of nativity play at UK private school

By Abby Amoakuh

21-year-old mistakes terminal cancer for normal back pain and dies within days

By Alma Fabiani

The rise, fall, and resurgence of the tramp stamp: How Gen Z are reclaiming lower back tattoos

By Charlie Sawyer

The Mean Girls musical reboot trailer just dropped and it’s giving gen Z tryhard energy

By Abby Amoakuh

The things we still don’t understand about sexual assault: Why we need EU-wide Only Yes Means Yes laws

By Charlie Sawyer

What to do if your landlord increases your rent, from negotiating to appealing to a tribunal

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

The internet is convinced that Kate Middleton just had a BBL

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Exploring The Gambia’s attempt to reverse its ban on FGM and how the ritual cutting impacts women worldwide

By Charlie Sawyer

Watch Tyler, the Creator and Post Malone get down to Colbie Caillat

By Abby Amoakuh

The murder of a 22-year-old nursing student in Athens Georgia could decide the US presidential elections

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

North West’s performance with Kanye proves that 2024 is going to be her big year

By Alma Fabiani

This Texas zoo lets you name a cockroach after your ex and have it fed to an animal

By Charlie Sawyer

This Saltburn-inspired cocktail containing Jacob Elordi’s bathwater is going viral on TikTok. Ew

By Charlie Sawyer

Kylie Minogue’s scent, stereotypes in the media, and fancying F1 drivers: My morning with GK Barry

By Charlie Sawyer

Poison seller who promoted death kits on suicide forums tracked down by BBC