Prosecutor Fani Willis acknowledges ‘personal relationship’ with prosecutor she hired in Trump’s Georgia case

(John Bazemore/Associated Press)

Prosecutor Fani Willis acknowledges ‘personal relationship’ with prosecutor she hired in Trump’s Georgia case


February 2, 2024

Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis acknowledged in a court filing Friday that she had a personal relationship with a special prosecutor she hired for the Georgia election interference case against former President Trump, but argued there are no grounds to dismiss the case or remove her from prosecution to delete.

Willis hired special counsel Nathan Wade in November 2021 to support her investigation into whether the Republican ex-president and others broke the laws when they tried to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Since Trump and 18 others were indicted in August, Wade has led the team of Willis attorneys assembled to prosecute the case.

Among the acts listed in the indictment was a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged fellow Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to find the 11,780 votes needed to overturn his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden to make. Trump has pleaded not guilty and his lawyers have said he had the right to challenge the election results.

It was the first time Willis or Wade have directly addressed the allegations of a relationship in the nearly four weeks since they first surfaced in a defendant’s filing in the election case. In an affidavit accompanying the filing, Wade said he and the district attorney had developed a personal relationship in 2022 in addition to their professional association and friendship.

But he also said he had never lived with Willis or shared a financial account or household expenses with her. He said none of the money was paid to him as part of his job

have had

shared with Willis, an attempt to undermine lawyers’ claims of conflict of interest.

Wade described himself and Willis as financially independent professionals; expenses or personal travel were divided about equally between us.”

At other times, Wade said, “I have made and purchased trips for District Attorney Willis and myself out of my personal funds. At other times, District Attorney Willis has arranged and purchased trips for her and me from her personal funds.

“I have no financial interest in the outcome of the 2020 election interference case or in the conviction of any defendant,” he wrote.

The filing Friday by the Willis team came in response to a motion filed last month by attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who represents Trump co-defendant Michael Roman.

The motion alleged that Willis and Wade had an inappropriate romantic relationship that created a conflict of interest. The filing seeks to dismiss the case and bar Willis and Wade and their offices from further prosecuting the case.

Trump and at least one other co-defendant, Georgia attorney Robert Cheeley, have filed motions to join Roman’s effort to dismiss the charges and remove Willis from the case.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the election case, set a Feb. 15 hearing on Roman’s motion. Willis and Wade are among a dozen witnesses Merchant subpoenaed to testify at that hearing.

The filing filed Friday asks McAfee to dismiss the motions without a hearing because they have no merit.

Willis’ team maintains that Willis has no financial or personal conflict of interest that would justify removing her or her office from the case. It also calls the attacks on Wade’s qualifications factually incorrect, unsupported and malicious. The filing calls the allegations salacious and says they have received the media attention for which they were intended.”

Trump and other critics of Willis, an elected Democrat, have capitalized on the allegations about Willis and Wade’s relationship and used them to cast doubt on the case’s legitimacy.

The former president has also accused Willis and prosecutors in three other criminal cases against him of political attacks as he looks set to become the Republican nominee for president in 2024.

Roman’s motion questions Wade’s qualifications to be involved in a complex prosecution under Georgia’s anti-racketeering law.

Roman’s motion also accused Willis of personally profiting from the case, saying she paid Wade more than $650,000 for his work and then profited when Wade used his earnings to pay for the vacations which the couple took together.

Roman’s motion did not contain any concrete evidence to support the allegations of a romantic relationship between Willis and Wade. But in a filing in Wade’s divorce case, his wife included credit card statements showing that Wade had purchased plane tickets for Willis to travel with him to San Francisco and Miami.

Also Friday, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent Willis a subpoena for any documents or communications relating to her office’s receipt and use of federal funds, as well as any documents or communications referencing or relating dealing with allegations of her office’s misuse of federal funds.

Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, has sent several letters to Willis since September requesting information. Each time, she refused to send the requested information, saying the congressman’s requests violated principles of federalism and the separation of powers, and accusing him of interfering with a criminal prosecution.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles