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Fulton DA Willis: ‘Not aware’ of disclosure requirement of relationship with special prosecutor

"She set up her own perjury trap and walked into it. She is the dumbest prosecutor I've ever seen in all my time as a lawyer," said Mike Davis, Article III Project founder.

Published: February 15, 2024 11:00pm

During a hearing in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump, dramatic testimony was given by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, special prosecutor Nathan Wade, and the DA’s former lover, as Willis claimed she was "not aware" that she had to disclose her romantic relationship with Wade to the county.

A hearing was held on Thursday regarding Willis’ relationship with Wade and the resulting potential conflicts of interest regarding the case against Trump. Willis last year indicted Trump and 18 co-defendants over his efforts to challenge the 2020 election results in Georgia. She had hired Wade as a special prosecutor to pursue the case. 

Co-defendant Mike Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, first raised allegations in January regarding Willis and Wade, claiming the pair "engaged in an improper, clandestine personal relationship" and have profited from the case. Wade has been paid roughly $654,000 in legal fees from January 2022 through December 2023, the allegations claimed. 

Willis and Wade have admitted to a "personal relationship," though they claim it began after she hired him and that there exists no conflict of interest in the case. Contrarily, defense attorneys for Roman insist the relationship preceded Wade's hiring. 

Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the hearing, on Monday suggested that Willis could be removed from the case, explaining that the allegations against her "could result in a disqualification." 

Willis unexpectedly appeared in the courtroom on Thursday to testify after Wade had given his testimony. After Wade testified, the co-defendants' lawyers wanted Willis to give her testimony, but before the court could decide to send for her to appear, she walked in and offered to testify. 

During her testimony, Willis said she didn't tell anyone on the prosecution team about her romantic relationship with Wade because she keeps her private life private. However, Merchant noted that to contract with someone in Fulton County, there is a requirement to disclose it. 

“Did you disclose your relationship [with Wade] to anybody at Fulton County?” Merchant asked Willis. 

“No, I don’t think so,” Willis replied. 

Merchant then followed up, “Are you aware that Fulton County requires you to disclose any relationship with someone that you’re doing business with?” 

Willis responded, “I’m not aware.” 

When the judge said at the beginning of Willis’ testimony that she is an adverse witness for the defense since her interests were opposed to Merchant’s, Willis responded that Merchant’s “interests are contrary to democracy, your honor, not to mine.” 

Later, the judge abruptly called for a short recess, after Willis accused Merchant of lying about her relationship with Wade, holding up defense documents and saying, "It is a lie! It is a lie!" 

A few of the co-defendants' lawyers focused on the timing of the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade, as they tried to establish a timeline of when the relationship started and when Willis hired Wade for the investigation into Trump. 

Earlier in the day, Robin Yeartie, a defense witness, testified that she was a longtime friend of Willis, leased her condo to her, and worked for her in the district attorney's office. Their friendship ended after Yeartie resigned from the district attorney's office in 2022, Yeartie said during testimony. 

Yeartie testified that Willis and Wade began their romantic relationship in late 2019. 

After Yeartie’s testimony, Wade testified that because his marriage was irretrievably broken in 2015, he was allowed to be in a romantic relationship with anyone after that, despite not filing for divorce until 2021. He also said that he didn't start a romantic relationship with Willis until 2022, after he began working with Willis' office in 2021. 

Later, Wade testified that he had a romantic relationship with Willis before the indictment of Trump and the co-defendants in the Fulton County case. He also said that his relationship with Willis ended last summer. 

Willis also testified that her relationship with Wade began in early 2022. 

Later, Willis was asked if she had taken any trips to Washington, D.C., with Wade. She said she hadn't gone to D.C. with Wade, but she had taken a couple of trips there on her own. Willis also said in response to questioning that she didn't go to the White House when she went on her trips to D.C. 

In court filings from Wade's divorce proceedings, invoices he submitted to the DA's office show that he asked for reimbursement on at least one occasion for a meeting with President Biden’s White House counsel, Just the News previously reported. The entry indicates that Wade traveled to Athens, Georgia, for the May 23, 2022, meeting. 

The invoices also show that on November 18, 2022, Wade expensed travel to Washington, D.C., for an “Interview with DC/White House," just two days after Trump announced he was running for president in the 2024 GOP primary. 

George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley wrote in a Fox News opinion piece on Thursday that regardless of the outcome of the hearing, the Fulton County case would likely continue.

"None of this is likely to end the Georgia case," Turley wrote. "Even if Wade and Willis were disqualified, it is likely that the court would allow the case to move forward under their subordinates. Moreover, Willis may have succeeded in giving McAfee enough to express condemnation with her conduct but to reject her disqualification.

"If so, the court would ignore the fact that both Wade and Willis are accused of making false statements not just in their testimony this week but prior filings," Turley continued. "They would be allowed to prosecute defendants in the Georgia case charged with making such false statements in filings in other cases."

Mike Davis, Article III Project founder, told the "War Room with Stephen K. Bannon" TV show on Friday that Willis' testimony “was the worst testimony I think I’ve ever seen from anyone in any court proceeding ever.” 

He later added, "She set up her own perjury trap and walked into it. She is the dumbest prosecutor I've ever seen in all my time as a lawyer. And this woman, this angry, dumb woman is prosecuting a former and likely future president of the United States."

Under Willis' prosecution, Trump and 18 other co-conspirators were charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, among other Georgia state counts, for their alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in favor of Trump.

Three former Trump attorneys, Jenna EllisSidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, as well as Republican poll watcher Scott Hall, have all pleaded guilty in the case, while everyone else who was charged has pleaded not guilty.

The court is to reconvene at 9 a.m. EST on Friday and is expected to continue the hearing into next week. 

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