- Special prosecutor developed a ‘personal relationship’ with Willis in 2022
- New Willis filing includes his sworn affidavit
- She says it presents no conflict to her case against Trump and his associates
Fulton Count Georgia DA Fani Willis admits a new court filing Friday that she had a relationship with the fellow prosecutor she put on the payroll – even as she blasted ‘mertiless’ claims against her.
Willis made the court filing after a Donald Trump co-defendant asked to have the case against him dismissed, citing information obtained from a divorce proceedings about special prosecutor Nathan Wade, saying in a court filing that the two were carrying on a romantic relationship.
Willis blasted the claims as ‘salacious’ and asked a judge to dismiss conflict of interest claims, which Trump’s team also indicated it would pursue.
Fulton DA Fani Willis (center) confers with lead prosecutors, Donald Wakeford (left) and Nathan Wade, during a hearing at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Friday, July 1, 2022
But even as her filing attempts to knock down claims of a conflict, she acknowledges a ‘private’ relationship with Wade.
‘Much of Defendant Roman’s motion relies on supposition and inuendo regarding the private relationship between District Attorney Willis and Special Prosecutor Wade,’ according to the filing.
Willis said there was ‘no financial conflict of interest that constitutes a legal basis for disqualification’ and that there was ‘no personal conflict of interest that justifies her disqualification personally or that of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.’
Her filing than calls the ”attacks on Special Prosecutor Wade’s qualifications ‘factually inaccurate, unsupported, and malicious, in addition to providing no basis whatsoever to dismiss the indictment or disqualify Special Prosecutor Wade.’
‘District Attorney Willis has no personal conflict of interest that justifies her disqualification personally or that of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office,’ she writes.
Trump codefendant Mike Roman’s lawyer first brought forth the stunning allegations about Willis, who has become a regular target of Trump.
Roman lawyer Ashleigh Merchant dug up information on the relationship and included stunning details in a filing, alleging the pair took lavish vacations together. House Republicans have already said they plan to investigate.
‘While the allegations raised in the various motions are salacious and garnered the media attention they were designed to obtain, none provide this Court with any basis upon which to order the relief they seek,’ according to the new filing Friday.
The filing includes an affidavit from Wade, which states that the relationship with Willis began after his appointment, not before.
‘The affidavit also clarifies that, although District Attorney Willis and Special Prosecutor Wade have been professional associates and friends since 2019, there was no personal relationship between them in November 2021 at the time of Special Prosecutor Wade’s appointment, and Defendants offer no support for their insistence that the exercise of any prosecutorial discretion (i.e., any charging decision or plea recommendation) in this case was impacted by any personal relationship,’ according to the filing.
‘Without those additional factors, the existence of a relationship between members of a prosecution team, in and of itself, is simply not a status that entitles a criminal defendant any remedy.’
Her filing blasts ‘wild’ speculation that Willis financially benefitted from more than $600,000 in compensation that Wade received. ‘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,’ it states. They have no joint or shared accounts and ther e’is not now and has never been any shared household.’
According to his signed affidavit, Wade met Willis at a judicial training conference in 2019.
Willis asked him to serve on her transition team when she was elected to her post in 2020.
Wade says Willis asked him and two other lawyers in seeking out a ‘competent, trustworthy attorney to manage and lead the investigation of possible attempts to interfere with the administration of the 2020 election.’
He said it paid $250 an hour, less than his typical $550 per hour rate, but that he was approached for the role after other lawyers ‘expressed hesitation due to concerns related to violent rhetoric and potential safety issues for their families.’
He took the assignment after being approached by Willis and other lawyers.
‘While professional associates and friends since 2019, there was no personal relationship between District Attorney Willis and me prior to or at the time of my appointment as special prosecutor in 2021,’ Wade continues. ‘In 2022, District Attorney Willis and I developed a personal relationship in addition to our professional association and friendship.’
‘The District Attorney and I are both financially independent professionals; expenses for personal travel were roughly divided equally between us,’ writes Wade. ‘At times I have made and purchased travel for District Attorney Willis and myself from my personal funds. At other times District Attorney Willis has made and purchased travel for she and I from her personal funds.’