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Trump Team Releases Eyebrow-Raising Phone Data in Fani Willis Case

Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images
Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images

The already sticky situation in which Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has found herself, which centers on her romantic relationship with Special Counsel Nathan Wade, may have just gotten stickier.

Wade, the trial attorney Willis hired to help prosecute former President Donald Trump on state charges of election interference, allegedly visited the DA at home—occasionally arriving late at night and staying until the wee hours—some three dozen times between April 1, 2021, and November 30, 2021, according to Trump’s defense team, which reviewed cellphone data subpoenaed from AT&T.

A spokesman for Willis did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Friday.

An eight-page affidavit filed Friday in Fulton County Superior Court by Trump attorneys Steve Sadow and Jennifer Little allegedly reveals “a minimum of 35 occasions” during those months when Wade’s phone “connected for an extended period” to the cell towers nearest Willis’ condo in the Atlanta suburb of Hapeville. In it, criminal defense investigator Charles Mittelstadt describes his figures as “conservative,” explaining that he highlighted those times when Wade’s phone was “stationary and not in transit.”

The filing does not include the raw data Mittelstadt used for his analysis, and his conclusions cannot be independently verified.

Fani Willis Goes Scorched Earth From Witness Stand

Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee will now decide whether or not to admit the phone data analysis into evidence.

Wade testified last week that he had been to Willis’ fewer than 10 times prior to his hiring by Willis in November 2021. When Trump attorney Steve Sadow suggested that phone records might reflect otherwise, Wade dismissed the idea out of hand.

“They’d be wrong?” Sadow asked Wade.

“They’d be wrong,” Wade insisted.

In his testimony, Wade said he travels to the Hapeville area for a variety of reasons, and could have been at a nearby restaurant, the airport, Delta Air Lines headquarters, or the Porsche Experience Center. He also said he never spent the night at Willis’ condo. Willis, for her part, said on the stand that the only person to ever stay overnight at the residence with her was one of her daughters.

The Trump team is trying to get Willis removed from the case, claiming her hiring of her purported boyfriend is disqualifying under ethics guidelines. Willis and Wade, however, have both testified under oath that they didn’t start dating until 2022. If this chronology turns out to be untrue, the pair could each face allegations of perjury. Experts have warned against relying too heavily on “circumstantial evidence” generated by cellphone tracking data.

Mittelstadt, who regularly appears on CourtTV, Investigation Discovery, and other cable shows, said in his affidavit that he tallied “over 2,000 voice calls and just under 12,000 interactions” between Willis and Wade during an 11-month period in 2021, with “a prevalence of calls made in the evening hours.” Because of the “sheer volume of data” involved, Mittelstadt said in the affidavit that he was “directed to conduct a deeper analysis on two specific dates: September 11-12, 2021 (before I understand Mr. Wade was hired) and November 29-30, 2021 (prior to what I understand was the in-court testimony that the romantic relationship began in 2022).”

“Specifically, on September 11, 2021, Mr. Wade’s phone left the Doraville area and arrived within the geofence… at 10:45 P.M.,” the affidavit states. “The phone remained there until September 12 at 3:28 a.m. at which time the phone traveled directly to towers located in East Cobb consistent with his routine pinging at his residence in that area. The phone arrived in East Cobb at approximately 4:05 a.m., and records demonstrate he sent a text to Ms. Willis at 4:20 a.m.”

On November 29, 2021, Wade’s phone pinged off of the towers nearest his residence until it received a call from Willis’ phone at 11:32 p.m., after which the device traveled from East Cobb to the immediate vicinity of Willis’ condo, arriving at 12:43 a.m. on Nov. 30 and staying there until 4:55 a.m., according to the affidavit.

The relationship between the two was exposed by Robin Yeartie, a former friend of Willis’ who testified she believed Willis and Wade began dating in 2019. Yeartie owned the condo in Hapeville, where Willis was staying in the wake of threats and protests outside her house in South Fulton.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated after Trump’s legal team filed a corrected affidavit stating that Willis and Wade had 12,000 “interactions” over 11 months.

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