Photo edit of Fulton County DA Fani Willis.
Photo edit of Fulton County DA Fani Willis.

Attorneys for a co-defendant of former President Donald Trump accused Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of lying about her relationship with Nathan Wade in court documents filed Friday.

Michael Roman’s attorneys said in the 122-page filing that they have a witness who could contradict denials by Willis that her relationship with Wade began after she hired him as a special prosecutor in the probe of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Willis admitted to a relationship with Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor, in a 176-page court filing Feb. 2 in response to a motion filed Jan. 8 by attorneys for Michael Roman seeking her disqualification from the case.

In the filing, Roman’s attorneys named a friend of Wade who could confirm the relationship began before Willis became district attorney, contrary to claims Wade made in an affidavit attached to Willis’s Feb. 2 filing that the relationship didn’t begin prior to 2022.

“Willis and Wade claim they did not have a personal, romantic relationship before Willis appointed Wade as a special prosecutor, but Terrence Bradley (‘Bradley’) will refute that claim,” Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, said in the filing. “Bradley is an attorney and a member of the Georgia Bar.  Bradley and Wade were friends and business associates. Bradley has non-privileged, personal knowledge that the romantic relationship between Wade and Willis began prior to Willis being sworn as the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia in January 2021.”

Merchant also alleged two previously-undisclosed trips Wade and Willis took together in Friday’s filing, a Bahamas cruise in December 2022 and a trip to Belize in March 2023.

Willis secured a 13-count indictment against Trump and other defendants, including Roman, in August over the former president’s efforts to contest the results of the 2020 election in that state.

Wade reportedly earned $250 an hour while working on the case against Trump, compared to $200 an hour for John Floyd, a RICO expert, according to billing records obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Other documents obtained by the DCNF show that Floyd was initially paid $150 an hour.

Wade received over $650,000 in fees for his work on the case, according to Fulton County records.

“It is evident that the district attorney and her personally-appointed special prosecutor have enriched themselves off this case,” Merchant said in the filing. “That enrichment has taken various forms, not the least of which is incredible amounts of money paid to Wade by Willis that has, in turn, resulted in Willis’ personal financial benefit in the form of vacations, hotel stays and the like that have nothing to do with this case or her official duties as a prosecutor.”

Willis denied wrongdoing in a Jan. 14 address at Big Bethel AME Church, accusing her critics of “playing the race card” while falsely claiming she paid the outside prosecutors the same rate. Roman’s attorneys took note of the speech in the filing, saying her “inflammatory remarks” reflected both “misconduct” and her “personal interest” in the case.

“Since Willis and Wade were not forthright about their relationship in the first instance, there is no reason to believe they are telling the truth now,” Roman’s attorneys said in the filing, which asked for the court to hold an evidentiary hearing in the matter.

Willis did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

Harold Hutchison on February 9, 2024

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