Jan 31, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Fulton County DA Fani Willis subpoenaed over ethics violation accusations

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis  in Atlanta in August 2023.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in Atlanta in August 2023. Photo: Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and the prosecutor she hired to lead Georgia's 2020 election interference case against former President Trump were subpoenaed on Wednesday to testify regarding accusations of an improper romantic relationship, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Why it matters: The unsubstantiated allegations from a Trump co-defendant Mike Roman have cast uncertainty around the high-profile case.

  • The allegations have also ignited calls inside Georgia's legislature to have Willis investigated.
  • Roman first made the accusations in a court filing in early January.

Catch up quick: Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the election case, ordered an evidentiary hearing over the alleged misconduct for Feb. 15.

  • Roman has claimed Willis potentially violated laws and ethics by allegedly having a relationship with Georgia lawyer Nathan Wade around the time she hired him as lead prosecutor for the election case.
  • He further alleged that Willis and Wade improperly financially benefitted from Wade's employment in working on the racketeering case.
  • Citing the alleged conflict of interest, Roman asked the court to dismiss the indictment against him and disqualify Willis, Wade and their offices and firms from the case.
  • Trump's legal team also cited the allegations in a request last week to McAfee to dismiss the 13 counts against the former president in the sweeping racketeering case.

Of note: Following Roman's claims, Wade's estranged wife, Joycelyn Wade, divulged financial statements in a motion presented in the couple's divorce proceedings.

  • The statements show Nathan Wade purchased two airline trips to Miami and San Francisco with Willis during the election probe, the Washington Post reported.
  • Joycelyn Wade's motion had been a subpoena to compel Willis to testify in the case, but the effort was stayed by the presiding judge.
  • Given the accusations, the judge overseeing the divorce proceedings ordered that case records be unsealed.
  • The Wades reached a temporary agreement in the divorce case on Tuesday, allowing Nathan Wade to avoid a hearing where he likely would have had to testify about the alleged relationship.

What they're saying: Willis has said the accusations against Nathan Wade and the questions raised about his hiring were racist.

  • In legal filings in the divorce case, Willis has questioned whether Joycelyn Wade had been colluding with others to disrupt the racketeering case against Trump, pointing to the timing of Roman's accusations and her subpoena motion.

Go deeper: How the Fani Willis allegations could affect Trump's Georgia election case

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