In a recent court filing, Fani Willis addressed the allegations surrounding her “personal relationship” with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she enlisted for the Georgia election interference case against former President Trump.
Despite acknowledging the relationship, Willis asserted that there are no grounds to dismiss the case or remove her from the prosecution.
Willis appointed Wade in November 2021 to aid in the investigation into whether Trump and others violated laws while attempting to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden in Georgia. Wade has played a crucial role in the legal team prosecuting Trump and 18 others since they were indicted in August.
The indictment encompasses various acts, including a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call in which Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed to overturn the result. Trump has pleaded not guilty, claiming it was within his rights to challenge election results.
The court filing represents the first direct response from Willis and Wade regarding the allegations of a romantic relationship that emerged about four weeks ago in a filing by a Trump co-defendant.
Wade, in an accompanying affidavit, acknowledged a “personal relationship” with Willis in addition to their “professional association and friendship.” However, he emphasized that they had never cohabited, shared financial accounts, household expenses, or his earnings – aiming to counter claims of a conflict of interest.
Wade described both himself and Willis as “financially independent professionals,” with expenses divided roughly equally between them. He stated, “I have no financial interest in the outcome of the 2020 election interference case or in the conviction of any defendant.”
The court filing was a response to a motion by defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, representing Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, alleging an inappropriate romantic relationship that constitutes a conflict of interest. The motion seeks dismissal of the case and removal of Willis and Wade from further prosecution.
Several co-defendants, including Trump, have filed motions to join Roman’s effort to dismiss the indictment and remove Willis from the case. A hearing on Roman’s motion is set for Feb. 15. Willis’ team filed on Friday, asking Judge Scott McAfee to dismiss the motions without a hearing, contending they “have no merit.”
They argue that Willis has no financial or personal conflict justifying removal from the case. The filing also challenges attacks on Wade’s qualifications, deeming them “factually inaccurate, unsupported, and malicious.”
Trump and other critics have seized on the allegations to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the case, accusing Willis of engaging in political attacks.
Roman’s motion questions Wade’s qualifications and accuses Willis of personal profit, alleging she paid Wade over $650,000 for his work and benefited when he used his earnings for vacations they took together.
While Roman’s motion lacks concrete proof of the romantic relationship, documents in Wade’s divorce case included credit card statements showing he bought plane tickets for Willis.
In a parallel development, Rep. Jim Jordan has subpoenaed Willis for documents related to her office’s use of federal funds, suggesting potential interference with a criminal prosecution.
Willis has consistently refused to provide the requested information, citing violations of federalism and separation of powers principles and accusing Jordan of attempting to interfere with the prosecution.