Georgia district attorney admits relationship with special prosecutor
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Friday confirmed in a court filing that she had engaged in a romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. But Willis argued that the relationship did not provide grounds to dismiss her prosecution of former President Donald Trump or remove her from the case. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee will hold a hearing on Feb. 15 concerning whether she and Wade will stay on the case.
Could she be removed from the case? Trump co-defendant Michael Roman last month filed a motion to dismiss charges against him and remove Willis from the case because of alleged ethics violations related to her relationship with Wade, who has been going through divorce proceedings during the prosecution. Trump and another co-defendant later co-opted Roman’s motion. Willis is prosecuting Trump for allegedly seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Trump denies wrongdoing.
What’s her argument for why she should not be removed from the case? Willis argues that previous Georgia case law does not consider romantic relationships between lawyers to be grounds for removal from a case. She also maintains that neither she nor Wade has a financial interest in convicting the former president or his co-defendants. She claims she has not benefited from hiring Wade to work on her prosecution of Trump. She also alleges that the relationship between herself and Wade did not begin until after he was appointed to the Trump prosecution.
What did Roman’s initial allegation say? Roman’s court filing said Willis and Wade abused public funds and acted unprofessionally by conducting the relationship. It also alleged that Willis had financially profited from Wade’s appointment to the case and that the two had gone on vacations and cruises together. The filing also said Wade hadn’t filed appropriate paperwork for his position and that Willis had unilaterally appointed him without the approval of Fulton County.
Dig deeper: Read Carolina Lumetta’s report in The Stew about the details of Willis’ prosecution of Trump.
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