Atlanta DA Fani Willis, the district attorney for Fulton County, is strongly denying charges that she broke federal law and professional standards by having a personal relationship with the lead prosecutor on the 2020 election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others.
Willis said in a court document filed Friday that his relationship with Nathan Wade, who was hired to work on the case in 2021, did not start until 2022 and that claims that they make money from bringing the case are “meritless.”
The document asks a judge to turn down a Trump associate’s request last month to have the charges against them dropped.
“To be absolutely clear, the personal relationship between Special Prosecutor Wade and District Attorney Willis has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis,” the record reports. “Defendants have produced no evidence to suggest that there is any circumstance that would constitute a financial incentive on the District Attorney’s part to pursue a conviction in this case through the appointment of Special Prosecutor Wade.”
The January 8 motion says Wade has been paid more than $600,000 since 2021 for his work on the case. His main job was to oversee a secret, months-long special purpose grand jury process that looked into Trump and his allies’ failed attempt to change Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results.
Mike Roman, a former official in the Trump campaign, made his allegations that Willis and Wade were dating as part of a motion to drop the charges against him and get the DA’s office out of the case.
There are now lawyers for both Trump and Bob Cheeley, who is also on trial with Trump. The people who are being charged against Trump, Cheeley, and Roman have said they are not guilty.
Roman is being charged with racketeering, and the move to dismiss them says that Willis and Wade broke federal racketeering law and get paid to go after Trump and his supporters because they are friends.
The motion also said that Wade hadn’t filed his oath of office before working on the case and that county commissioners had never approved his hire. This would get rid of the felony charges against Roman for his part in a plan to send a fake list of presidential electors to Congress.
The statement on Friday disproves those claims. On February 15, there will be a meeting about the case.
PLANE TICKETS AS POSSIBLE PROOF
The allegations against the former president, along with Willis’s lack of reaction until now, have dominated recent news stories about a case that was already getting a lot of attention.
A lot of the first 127 pages of the motion, which Roman’s lawyer Ashleigh Merchant wrote, hinted that Willis and Wade might have done something wrong without any proof. They used “sources” to establish a relationship and made guesses about why Wade was hired.
Willis defended his qualifications by including in Friday’s answer a list of awards and honors Wade had gotten as well as what appeared to be a screenshot of a social media post in which Merchant had endorsed Wade in a previous election.
Roman’s filing also said that Wade’s divorce procedures, which were being kept secret at the time, would provide more proof of the alleged relationship, along with financial records that showed Wade and Willis traveling together at different times.
Credit card records made public in the divorce case show that Wade bought two plane tickets, one for himself and one in Willis’ name. The tickets were for a trip to Miami and one to San Francisco.
The DA said, “Expenses for personal travel were roughly divided equally between us.”
Wade’s divorce papers, which were made public last week, didn’t show any more proof of his relationship with the DA. However, they did show a nasty fight over money and financial records with his ex-wife Jocelyn Wade, who said in court papers that she is unemployed.
ATLANTA DA AND THE CASE ARE STILL BEING ATTACKED.
The charges against Willis have led to the latest attack on her and the case, even if the judge doesn’t throw out the charges or remove her from the case.
One of Trump’s lawyers in Georgia, Steve Sadow, at first refused to sign the motion against Willis, calling it “salacious and scandalous in nature” at a recent meeting.
But when Willis said things about Wade being criticized because he was Black at a Martin Luther King Jr. church service in January, Sadow and co-counsel Jennifer Little joined the move to dismiss and slammed Willis’s comments.
“[T]he DA’s self-serving comments came with the added, sought after, benefit of garnering racially based sympathy for her self-inflicted quagmire,” they wrote in a move last week.
He told Trump that his motion “appears designed to generate media attention rather than accomplish some form of legitimate legal practice” and that it should be thrown out.
In a statement released on Friday, Sadow said that Willis’s new “response asks the Court to turn a blind eye to her alleged personal and financial misconduct.”
Trump has used the accusations against Willis as yet another chance to say bad things about the case. He has called Willis “totally compromised.”
It’s not the first time the former president or his supporters have attacked Willis and tried to make the charges against her look weak and stop the probe into the failed attempt to change the results of Georgia’s 2020 election.
On the head of the House Judiciary group, Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), has sent several letters to Willis as part of an investigation into possible “collusion” between Fulton County and the group that looked into the protests at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Friday, Jordan asked Willis to see documents about firing a staff member because she was accused of misusing government grant money. Willis said on Friday that those claims are “false.”
Many Republicans in Georgia’s state Senate helped Trump’s efforts to meddle in the election. They recently passed a special committee to look into Willis. This committee doesn’t have much power to punish her, but it could subpoena witnesses to try to stop the case.
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