Atlanta DA admits to a relationship with Trump case prosecutor however defends her actions

Up to date February 2, 2024 at 2:05 PM ET

ATLANTA — Fulton County District Legal professional Fani Willis is strongly pushing again towards claims she violated federal legislation and moral requirements by having a private relationship with a lead prosecutor on the 2020 election interference case towards former President Donald Trump and others.

In a court docket submitting Friday, Willis stated the connection with Nathan Wade, who was employed to work the case in 2021, didn’t start till 2022 and allegations that the pair financially profit from prosecuting the case are “meritless.”

The submitting asks a decide to disclaim a Trump codefendant’s movement final month to dismiss costs.

“To be completely clear, the non-public relationship between Particular Prosecutor Wade and District Legal professional Willis has by no means concerned direct or oblique monetary profit to District Legal professional Willis,” the submitting reads. “Defendants have produced no proof to recommend that there’s any circumstance that will represent a monetary incentive on the District Legal professional’s half to pursue a conviction on this case by means of the appointment of Particular Prosecutor Wade.”

Based on the Jan. 8 movement, Wade has been paid greater than $600,000 since 2021 for his work on the case, which primarily included overseeing a months-long particular function grand jury course of behind closed doorways that investigated the failed try to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential outcomes by Trump and his allies.

The allegations of a romantic relationship between Willis and Wade had been filed by former Trump marketing campaign official Mike Roman as a part of a movement to dismiss costs towards him and take away the DA’s workplace from any involvement with the case.

Legal professionals for Trump and fellow codefendant Bob Cheeley have since additionally joined on to the request. Trump, Cheeley and Roman have pleaded not responsible to the fees towards them.

Roman’s costs embrace racketeering, and the movement to dismiss them argues that Willis and Wade themselves violated federal racketeering legislation and financially profit from prosecuting Trump and his allies due to their relationship.

The movement additionally argued that Wade did not file his oath of workplace earlier than engaged on the case and that his hiring was by no means accepted by county commissioners, nullifying the felony costs stemming from Roman’s involvement in a scheme to ship a falsified slate of presidential electors to Congress.

Friday’s submitting rebuts these claims. A listening to over the matter is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Aircraft tickets as alleged proof

The political and optical implications of the allegations — and Willis’ lack of response till now — have dominated latest headlines surrounding an already-high-profile case towards the previous president.

A lot of the preliminary 127-page movement written by Ashleigh Service provider, Roman’s lawyer, contained innuendo and implications of wrongdoing by Willis and Wade with out accompanying proof, citing “sources” that confirmed a relationship and speculating about why Wade was employed.

Willis defended his {qualifications}, together with in Friday’s response a number of awards and honors Wade acquired and a purported screenshot of a social media submit during which Service provider beforehand campaigned for Wade in a previous run for workplace.

Roman’s submitting additionally stated that Wade’s divorce proceedings, then filed underneath seal, would supply corroborating proof in regards to the alleged relationship, along with monetary data that confirmed Wade and Willis traveled collectively at completely different instances.

Bank card statements launched within the divorce case present two aircraft tickets, one to Miami and one to San Francisco, that Wade bought for himself and in Willis’ title.

The DA stated that “bills for private journey had been roughly divided equally between us.”

John David Mercer / Pool/Getty Photos


Pool/Getty Photos

Fulton County particular prosecutor Nathan Wade speaks throughout a listening to within the 2020 Georgia election interference case on Dec. 1, 2023.

Wade’s divorce docket, unsealed final week, didn’t present any additional proof of the connection with the district lawyer, however does present a bitter battle over cash and monetary statements with Jocelyn Wade, his estranged spouse, who stated in court docket paperwork she is unemployed.

Assaults on Willis and the case proceed

Even when a decide doesn’t dismiss the fees or take away Willis from the case, the allegations towards her have set off the newest assault on Willis and the case.

Steve Sadow, one in all Trump’s attorneys in Georgia, initially declined to signal on to the movement towards Willis, calling the submitting “salacious and scandalous in nature” at a latest listening to over completely different motions.

However after Willis used an look at a Martin Luther King Jr. church service in January to recommend criticism of Wade got here as a result of he was Black, Sadow and co-counsel Jennifer Little joined in on the movement to dismiss and blasted Willis’ remarks.

“[T]he DA’s self-serving feedback got here with the added, wanted, advantage of garnering racially primarily based sympathy for her self-inflicted quagmire,” they wrote in a movement final week.

Willis replied that Trump’s movement “seems designed to generate media consideration somewhat than accomplish some type of reliable authorized apply” and must be dismissed.

Trump himself has seized on the allegations as the newest alternative to bash the case and has referred to as Willis “completely compromised.”

It isn’t the primary time the previous president or his allies have attacked Willis and sought to discredit the fees and derail the investigation into the failed effort to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election outcomes.

Home Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has despatched a number of letters to Willis as a part of an investigation into alleged “collusion” between Fulton County and the Home committee that investigated the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol.

On Friday, Jordan subpoenaed Willis for paperwork associated to a firing of a staffer after it was alleged that she misused federal grant cash. Willis on Friday stated these allegations are “false.”

Georgia’s Republican-led state Senate, house to many lawmakers who aided Trump’s election meddling efforts, lately accepted a particular committee to analyze Willis that has little energy to behave towards her however could search to subpoena testimony looking for to derail the case.

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