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Atlanta DA admits ties to prosecutor in Trump case but defends her actions


Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis speaks in Atlanta on August 14, 2023, after former President Donald Trump and his allies were indicted on state charges. On the right is Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade. The personal relationship between Willis and Wade is at the heart of the case against claims of misconduct against the DA’s office.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis speaks in Atlanta on August 14, 2023, after former President Donald Trump and his allies were indicted on state charges. On the right is Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade. The personal relationship between Willis and Wade is at the heart of the case against claims of misconduct against the DA’s office.

Joe Reddell/Getty Images

ATLANTA — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is vehemently pushing back on her role with the lead prosecutor in the 2020 election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others Allegations that the personal relationship violated federal law and ethical standards.

exist Friday court filingsWillis said the relationship with Nathan Wade, who was hired on the case in 2021, did not begin until 2022 and claimed the pair had financially benefited from prosecuting the case as “baseless” .

The filing asks a judge to deny a motion filed last month by Trump’s co-defendants to dismiss the charges.

“To be absolutely clear, the personal relationship between Special Counsel Wade and District Attorney Willis has never involved a direct or indirect financial interest in District Attorney Willis,” the filing reads. “Defendants have not. “Provide any evidence that any circumstances existed that would have created a financial incentive for the District Attorney to obtain a conviction in this case through the appointment of Special Prosecutor Wade.”

arrive Motion of January 8Wade has been paid more than $600,000 since 2021 for his work on the case, which largely included overseeing the months-long closed-door special purpose grand jury proceeding investigating Trump and his allies’ efforts to overturn Georgia’s A failed attempt to determine the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

Former Trump campaign official Mike Roman raised the allegation about a romantic relationship between Willis and Wade as part of a motion to dismiss the charges against him and remove the district attorney’s office from the case.

Lawyers for Trump and co-defendant Bob Chilli also joined the plea. Trump, Chili and Roman have all pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Roman’s charges include racketeering, and the motion to dismiss the charges argued that Willis and Wade violated federal racketeering laws themselves and had financial violations by prosecuting Trump and his allies.

The motion also contends that Wade failed to submit his oath of office before taking up the case and that his hiring was never approved by county commissioners, making the case stemming from Roman’s involvement in a scheme to send a falsified slate of presidential electors to Congress. Felony charges dismissed. .

Documents filed Friday dispute those claims. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for February 15.

Air tickets as evidence

The political and visual fallout from the accusations — and Willis’s lack of response so far — have dominated recent headlines surrounding the former president’s already high-profile case.

The 127-page motion originally written by Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, contained much of the innuendo and implication of misconduct by Willis and Wade without accompanying evidence, citing corroboration. “Sources” of the relationship and speculated on why Wade was hired.

Willis defended his qualifications, including multiple awards and honors Wade has received in his response on Friday, as well as screenshots of what he said were Merchant’s previous social media posts campaigning for Wade while he was running for office. .

Roman’s filing also alleges that Wade’s subsequent divorce lawsuit, filed under seal, would provide corroborating evidence of the alleged relationship, as well as financial records showing Wade and Willis traveling together at various times.

Credit card statements released in the divorce show Wade purchased two plane tickets for himself in Willis’ name, one to Miami and one to San Francisco.

“The cost of the personal trip was roughly split between us,” the district attorney said.

On December 1, 2023, Fulton County Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade spoke at the hearing on the 2020 Georgia election interference case.

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Wade’s divorce documents unsealed last week didn’t reveal any further evidence of a relationship with the district attorney, but they did reveal heated arguments over money and financial statements with his estranged wife, Jocelyn Wade. De said in court documents that she lost her job.

Assault and case against Willis continue

Even if a judge doesn’t dismiss the charges or remove Willis from the case, the accusations against her have sparked the latest attacks About Willis and the case.

Steve Sadow, one of Trump’s lawyers in Georgia, initially refused to sign the motion against Willis, calling the document “inherently obscene and scandalous” during a recent hearing on a different motion.

But after Willis appeared at a Martin Luther King Jr. Church service in January and suggested criticism of Wade was because he is black, Sado and co-counsel Jennifer Little joined the motion to dismiss and blasted Willis Si’s remarks.

“[T]The District Attorney’s self-serving comments have the added, welcome benefit of garnering race-based sympathy for a quagmire of her own making,” they wrote in a motion last week.

Willis responded that Trump’s motion “appears to be an effort to generate media attention rather than to enable some form of legitimate legal practice” and should be dismissed.

Trump himself has seized on the charges as the latest opportunity to attack the case, saying Willis was “totally compromised.”

This is not the first time the former president or his allies have attacked Willis and sought to discredit the allegations and undermine the investigation into the failed effort to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, has sent several letters to Willis as part of his response to the alleged dispute between Fulton County and the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. part of the “collusion” investigation.

On Friday, Jordan subpoenaed Willis for documents related to the firing of a staff member because she allegedly misused federal funding. Willis said on Friday the allegations were “false.”

Georgia’s Republican-led state Senate, home to many of the lawmakers who helped Trump interfere in the election, recently approved a special committee to investigate Willis, which has little power to take action against her but may seek to subpoena testimony in an effort to Destroy the case.



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