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Fani Willis hearing becomes 'Peyton Place' episode while reported White House contacts go ignored

Lots of responses included "I don't recall" or long-winded answers from Willis about the relationship, which reminded observers of the soap opera "Peyton Place." 

Published: February 27, 2024 11:00pm

Court proceedings over Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade has transformed into a "Peyton Place" episode, replete with romantic relationships, alleged misuse of funds, and other chaos. Meanwhile, the elephant in the room of Wade's reported contact with the White House went largely unmentioned.

Last year, Willis indicted former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants over their efforts to challenge the 2020 election results in Georgia. Her hiring of a special prosecutor with whom she has had a romantic relationship, and their apparent co-mingling of money, has raised ethical concerns, so much so that a judge must now weigh a bid to have Willis removed from case. 

The matter first came to public attention in January, when Trump co-defendant Mike Roman's legal team accused Willis of benefiting from the affair, in part indirectly through the nearly $654,000 in legal fees he claims her office paid Wade from January 2022 through December 2023.

Until late January, moreover, Wade was going through a divorce from his estranged wife Jocelyn Mayfield Wade that saw the presentation of documents detailing Wade's purchase of tickets for at least two out-of-state trips with Willis. He abruptly settled the case last month and neither he nor Willis testified in that dispute.

Willis, Wade, and Wade's former law partner and divorce attorney Terrence Bradley have testified over the last month about the relationship, though many failed to definitively answer questions, often stating "I don't recall" or, in Willis's case, offering long-winded answers. 

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. Robin Yeartie, a defense witness, testified earlier this month that Willis and Wade began their romantic relationship in late 2019. Wade testified that he didn't start a romantic relationship with Willis until 2022, after he began working with Willis' office in 2021. 

Bradley testified on Tuesday that he does not remember when his client began dating Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

"I do not have knowledge of it starting or when it started," he said. 

Attracting little attention thus far have been reports that Wade had met with Biden White House officials. Just the News, in January, submitted a records request to Willis's office seeking communications between Willis and/or Wade and the White House or Department of Justice. The DA's office earlier this month responded that it had no relevant responsive records.

In January, however, the DA's office told Judge Scott McAfee that it had communicated with White House officials via two letters involving "logistics and procedures." Just the News has since brought a legal complaint to compel the DA's office to comply with the open records request.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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