Updated Feb 16, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Fani Willis won't testify in second day of Trump case misconduct hearing

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing

Fani Willis testifies during a hearing at the Fulton County Courthouse on Feb. 15. Photo: Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will not return to the witness stand Friday as she faces possible disqualification from Georgia's 2020 election interference case against former President Trump.

Why it matters: In explosive testimony on Thursday, Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade pushed back on allegations of an improper, romantic relationship. Judge Scott McAfee will determine whether to dismiss the prosecutors, and possibly the charges against Trump and his co-defendants, after hearing from remaining witnesses on Friday.

  • The prosecutors' potential dismissal could jeopardize the high-profile case and delay a prospective trial.
  • Willis was expected to continue testifying on Friday, but the district attorney's office said at the start of the hearing that she would not be called back to the stand.

The latest: John Floyd, Fani Willis's father, testified Friday that he did not formally meet Wade until last year.

  • Floyd, who lived in Willis' Fulton County home from 2019 to 2022, said he never saw Wade between 2019 and 2021. He said that he learned of their relationship only seven weeks ago.
  • Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes also testified Friday that Willis approached him in 2021 about serving as the special prosecutor in the case but he declined.

State of play: Willis had previously acknowledged having a personal relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired for the sweeping racketeering case against Trump.

  • Willis has denied that the relationship resulted in a financial conflict of interest.
  • Wade testified Thursday that he "roughly shared" expenses with Willis when they traveled together and never purchased gifts for her. Wade and Willis both testified that she would pay him back in cash for travel costs.

The big picture: The judge will weigh whether Willis and Wade's relationship predated Wade's hiring on the Trump case and whether Willis financially benefited from the relationship.

  • A former Fulton County District Attorney's Office employee and friend of Willis', Robin Bryant Yeartie, contradicted Willis' timeline on the relationship in testimony Thursday. She said it began in 2019.
  • Both Willis and Wade said repeatedly throughout their testimony Thursday that their relationship began in 2022.

Of note: If McAfee disqualifies Willis and Wade but doesn't throw out the charges against Trump and others, the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia would have the responsibility to find a substitute attorney to take up the case.

Zoom out: Trump faces 13 counts in the case related to his alleged efforts to subvert the state's 2020 election results.

Editor's note: This story was updated with details from Friday's hearing.

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