Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis acknowledged on Friday that she had an affair with prosecutor Nathan Wade, who was tapped by Willis to manage her sprawling racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and his allies. While admitting that the two had a relationship, Willis denies that her involvement with Wade in any way compromised the election interference investigation, noting there is no personal or financial “conflict of interest that constitutes a legal basis for disqualification.”
In January, Trump co-defendant Mike Roman accused Willis of engaging in an improper romantic relationship with Wade, who was paid over $600,000 in state funds for his work on the case. The scandal threatened Willis’ leadership of the case and undermined the years of work her office put into holding Trump and his allies accountable for their alleged meddling with Georgia’s 2020 election results. Willis said this week that she has no plans to recuse herself.
Willis had not addressed the allegations head-on until Friday, when she responded through a filing to Fulton County’s Superior Court. In the filing, Willis references a sworn affidavit given by Wade in which he acknowledges that they had begun a personal relationship in 2022, after he had been appointed to serve on the case.
Willis argued that while the claims were “salacious and garnered the media attention they were designed to obtain, none provide this Court with any basis upon which to order” her removal from the case. She requested that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee dismiss Roman’s request for her dismissal from the case before a scheduled hearing on Feb. 15.
The filing was made public hours after the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Willis over a separate matter, related to alleged whistleblower complaints of misuse of federal grant funds by her office. Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) cited Willis’ failure to comply with two previous voluntary requests for the materials for the subpoena. For months now, Jordan has been attempting to use his position on the Judiciary Committee to muddy the waters around Willis’ case against the former president, accusing her of engaging in “election interference” and of unlawfully coordinating with the House Jan. 6 Committee. In September, Willis responded to one of Jordan’s requests with a scathing letter accusing him of attempting “to invoke congressional authority to intrude upon and interfere with an active criminal case in Georgia.”
Jordan’s letter references a Wednesday report published by the right-wing outlet The Free Beacon, which claimed Willis had fired a whistleblower who warned her about her office potentially misusing federal grant money. “These allegations raise serious concerns about whether you were appropriately supervising the expenditure of federal grant funding allocated to your office and whether you took actions to conceal your office’s unlawful use of federal funds,” Jordan wrote.
In a statement responding to the subpoena, Willis called the former employee’s claims “baseless.”
“The courts that have ruled found no merit in these claims. We expect the same result in any pending litigation,” Willis wrote, describing the alleged whistleblower as “a holdover employee from the previous administration who was terminated for cause.”
“Any examination of the records of our grant programs will find that they are highly effective and conducted in cooperation with the Department of Justice and in compliance with all Department of Justice requirements,” she added.
Trump and his allies have been trying to make hay over the controversy surrounding Willis, particularly around her relationship with Wade, as Rolling Stone reported in January. “Donald Trump wants more dirt on her,” one lawyer close to the former president said. “And it doesn’t hurt that this really could blow up Fani Willis, if the allegations are true.”
Shortly after Willis acknowledged the affair, Trump responded on social media. “Fani Willis, the D.A. of Fulton County, just admitted to having a sexual relationship with the Prosecutor she, in consultation with the White House and DOJ, appointed to “GET PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP,” he wrote on Truth Social.
“THAT MEANS THAT THIS SCAM IS TOTALLY DISCREDITED & OVER!” the former president added.
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