Lead prosecutor in Trump’s Georgia case dodges testimony on Willis allegations
The lead prosecutor in Georgia's 2020 election interference case against former President Trump dodged a hearing Wednesday where he likely would have had to testify about an alleged improper relationship with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Why it matters: Unsubstantiated allegations that special prosecutor Nathan Wade had a relationship with Willis have jeopardized the high-profile case against the former president, who is seeking to have Willis and Wade disqualified and the charges tossed.
- The hearing, in Wade's pending divorce case, was canceled late Tuesday after he reached a last-minute settlement with his estranged wife, multiple outlets reported. The arrangement staved off his testimony on the alleged relationship with Willis — for now.
Catch up quick: Mike Roman, a Republican political operative and a co-defendant in the Georgia case, first made public the accusations of an improper relationship and alleged financial misconduct between Wade and Willis in a court filing in early January.
- After Roman's filing, Wade's estranged wife, Joycelyn Wade, divulged financial statements in a motion presented in the couple's divorce proceedings.
- The statements show Wade purchased two airline trips to Miami and San Francisco with Willis during the election probe, the Washington Post reported.
- Trump's legal team last week cited the allegations in a request to Judge Scott McAfee to dismiss the 13 counts against the former president in the sweeping racketeering case.
- McAfee scheduled an evidentiary hearing over the claims for Feb. 15.
Of note: The judge in the Wades' divorce proceedings ordered that its case records be unsealed.
- The documents released so far do not appear to provide additional evidence of the alleged relationship between Wade and Willis.
- Joycelyn Wade's legal team had also sought Willis' testimony through a subpoena. That request was stayed by the judge overseeing the divorce case until after Nathan Wade testified.
The big picture: Willis has neither confirmed nor denied the accusations but has maintained that she hired Wade as an outside prosecutor in the election case because he qualified for the position.
- Since he was hired, Wade has received roughly $650,000 in compensation from Willis' office, or a rate of roughly $250 an hour.
- Former Georgia prosecutors previously told the New York Times that they did not find Wade's rate unusual.
- Wade was not Willis' only outside hire in the election case. She also brought on an outside expert on racketeering law and a high-profile state homicide prosecutor.