Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis, who accused Donald Trump of meddling in the 2020 election in Georgia, acknowledged she had a personal relationship with the special prosecutor she appointed to handle the case, though she denied it tainted the process against the former. President.
This Friday, Willis called the allegations against him “baseless” and “disgusting.” He also asserted that there was no evidence that the relationship between him and special counsel Nathan Wade influenced the case.
Willis is asking the judge to deny motions by Trump and other co-defendants seeking to disqualify him and his office from the case.
Trump and other critics of Willis seized on the allegations about the relationship and sought to cast doubt on the case's legitimacy.
Origin of charges against Willis and Wade
Weeks ago, Mike Roman, a member of Trump's re-election campaign and one of 14 co-defendants in a criminal case against the former president in Georgia, accused Willis in court of having an “affair” with Wade.
Wade's law firm has received more than $653,000 from the district attorney's office since being appointed outside counsel in the case in November 2021.
Roman, without presenting evidence at the time, said Willis may have broken the law by hiring Wade and then allowing him to pay her for a “holiday around the world.”
Wade and Willis, Roman said, are “significantly benefiting from this case at the expense of taxpayers,” and the accused prosecutors are seeking disqualification and dismissal of the charges against them.
Wade defends himself and Willis
In an affidavit filed by Willis, Wade said in 2022 that he and the district attorney had developed a personal relationship with their “professional partnership and friendship.”
But she said she never lived with Willis or shared a financial account or household expenses with him, and that none of the funds she was given as part of the job were shared with him, facing claims of a conflict of interest by defense attorneys.
Wade described himself and Willis as “financially independent professionals.” “Personal expenses or travel were split roughly equally between us.”
“At times,” Wade said, “I have purchased trips for District Attorney Willis and myself out of my personal funds. On other occasions, District Attorney Willis has purchased trips for him and me out of his personal funds.
Trump is part of the indictment against Willis
Roman's motion was later joined by Trump and another co-defendant, Atlanta attorney Bob Seeley, who are demanding the case be moved out of Fulton County and the charges dismissed.
Roman's attorney, Ashley Merchant, said she plans to issue subpoenas for witnesses and documents to support her client's allegations of misconduct.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case, scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the charges for Feb. 15.
Former President Trump accused Willis (and prosecutors in three other criminal cases against him) of political attacks as he prepares to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2024.
Willis, an elected Democrat, is running for re-election this year. The allegations could become a campaign issue.
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