Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has acknowledged having a personal relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, a key figure in the case against Donald Trump.
However, Willis asserts that this relationship does not influence her handling of the Trump case, and she deems attempts to disqualify her as a “public relations strategy” orchestrated to impede the prosecution.
In a detailed 176-page filing submitted on Friday, Willis refuted claims that her association with Wade constitutes a conflict of interest.
She firmly denied any improper enrichment related to the Trump case, countering allegations made by one of Trump’s co-defendants that Wade used income earned from the case for extravagant trips with Willis.
Willis, in her first formal response to the accusations, clarified that her relationship with Wade did not breach ethics rules and argued that it should not interfere with the ongoing case.
The filing emphasized Wade’s qualifications and billing practices, defending the decision to hire him as a contract attorney in November 2021 to assist in the investigation into attempts to undermine the 2020 election results in Georgia.
While acknowledging the development of a personal relationship with Wade in 2022, Willis contends that this should not affect the prosecution’s integrity.
She labeled the efforts to disqualify her office as “malicious” and called for the cancellation of a scheduled hearing on February 15 regarding the misconduct allegations.
Willis obtained an indictment of Trump and 18 others in August 2023 under Georgia’s organized crime statute, marking one of the four criminal cases facing Trump. The case is yet to receive a trial date.
The filing also addressed assertions made by a defendant, Mike Roman, who claimed that Willis and Wade had an improper personal relationship during the case and were financially benefiting from Wade’s contract. Willis rejected these claims and defended her authority to appoint Wade as a special prosecutor.
In her filing, Willis took swipes at other attorneys involved in the case, highlighting romantic relationships between defense lawyers and noting that two were married.
However, she argued that these personal relationships were not grounds for controversy and had not been a topic of discussion until Roman’s motion was filed.
Willis concluded that the case against Trump and other defendants is rooted in their alleged racketeering conspiracy to disrupt and overturn the 2020 Georgia election in Fulton County, maintaining that the motions against her are based on “guesswork and public relations strategy, not legal argument.”