Trump’s Georgia prosecutor admits DA affair
The lead prosecutor in Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis’s criminal election tampering case against Donald Trump admitted they developed a “personal relationship” after he joined her team — but he and the DA denied that it caused a conflict of interest.
Nathan Wade, the prosecutor, in an affidavit filed Friday denied allegations that he or Willis benefited financially from the romantic relationship, as one of the co-defendants said Trump.
Willis in the same court filing rejected the defense’s arguments that their relationship warrants dismissal of the charge or either disqualification from the case.
And she condemned the attacks on Wade as “factually inaccurate, unsupported and malicious.”
Willis and Wade “have been professional associates and friends since 2019,” the DA said in the Fulton County Superior Court filing.
But they had “no personal relationship” in November 2021, when Wade became the special prosecutor in the case,” Willis said.
Later on Friday, Trump took issue with the prosecutors’ approval.
In the Truth Social message, Trump wrote that Willis’ “sexual relationship” with Wade means that the case against him is “completely suspect”.
But the district attorney said in her filing that the defendants in the case had not presented evidence that her personal relationship with Wade, which began in 2022, affected their “exercise of prosecutorial discretion.”
She noted that Wade was paid at a “lower hourly rate” compared to the Atlanta-area legal market, and that his invoices were approved by Fulton County’s chief financial officer.
Willis asked Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee to deny a motion by Trump’s co-defendant, Michael Roman, who is seeking to dismiss the indictment and disqualify himself and Wade from the case.
She also requested that a hearing based on the allegations, scheduled for February 15, be postponed.
Trump’s defense attorney Steve Sadow in a statement to NBC News criticized Willis’ accusation, accusing her of asking the court to “turn a blind eye to her alleged personal and financial misconduct.”
Sadow said the DA’s response lacked transparency and ignored key details, including the so-called “coincidence” of Wade filing for divorce the day after the DA to be hired! “
It remains to be seen if a judge finds that Willis’ relationship with Wade is a conflict that requires one or both of them to step aside from the charges.
But the DA was even before Friday facing criticism that her suspected relationship with him was destroying public confidence in her and in her case against the former president and his co-defendants. alleged buyers.
Trump, Roman and more than a dozen others were charged with conspiracy last year in connection with their efforts to swing the former president’s 2020 election loss in Georgia to President Joe Biden .
Trump has pleaded not guilty to 13 criminal charges in the case.
Roman in mid-January sought to dismiss his charges on the grounds that Willis and Wade “engaged in an inappropriate and covert personal relationship” during the case.
The Jan. 8 filing accused him of “personally benefiting from this lawsuit at the expense of Fulton County,” claiming that Wade has paid nearly $1 million in legal fees since who appointed him as a special prosecutor despite being unqualified for the job.
The filing cited Wade’s divorce proceedings, which were under seal at the time, saying they showed him and Willis traveling together to “vacation destinations” and buying cruise tickets.
Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant also cited unnamed sources who said Wade and Willis began their relationship before the election case began.
Trump’s lawyers in late January joined Roman’s motion to disqualify Willis and Wade.
Wade’s affidavit pushed back on those allegations.
“District Attorney Willis and I did not have a personal relationship prior to my appointment as special prosecutor in 2021 or at the time of my appointment as special prosecutor in 2021,” Wade wrote .
“I have no financial interest in the outcome of the 2020 election suppression case or in the conviction of any defendant,” he wrote. “No money has been paid to me as compensation for my role as To share or assign a Special Prosecutor to District Attorney Willis.”
Willis “received no money or personal financial gain from my role as Special Prosecutor,” he wrote.
Wade also denied that he ever lived with Willis or shared household expenses with her.
“The District Attorney and I are both financially independent professionals; personal travel expenses were largely shared between us,” he wrote.
“At times I have traveled and purchased for District Attorney Willis and myself from my personal funds. At other times District Attorney Willis has traveled and purchased for her and me from her personal money.”
Merchant did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.