The judge in former President Donald Trump’s Georgia case has presented the possibility that District Attorney Fani Willis could be disqualified from staying on as head prosecutor.
The judge said he will have an evidentiary hearing on Thursday regarding the allegations that she engaged in an “improper” affair with her subordinate, prosecutor Nathan Wade, and that she benefitted financially from it, Fox News reported.
The allegations of the improper affair were first made by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman but Willis has since admitted to the personal relationship.
In a Monday hearing Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said, “in studying the law that’s been filed up to this point, I think it’s clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one. And the filing submitted on this issue so far have presented a conflict in the evidence that can’t be resolved as a matter of law,” Fox News reported.
“Specifically looking at defendant Roman’s motion, it alleges a personal relationship that resulted in a financial benefit to the district attorney. And that is no longer a matter of complete speculation. The state has admitted a relationship existed. And so, what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit,” he said.
“So, because I think it’s possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification, I think an evidentiary hearing must occur to establish the record on those core allegations,” the judge said.
Fox News reported.
In legal filings last month, Roman alleged that Wade billed Fulton County for 24 hours of work on a single day in November 2021, shortly after being appointed as a special prosecutor, and that Willis financially benefited from her alleged lover’s padded taxpayer-funded salary by taking lavish vacations together on his dime.
According to the court documents, Wade, who has no RICO and felony prosecution experience, billed taxpayers $654,000 since January 2022.
Judge McAfee said Monday that “the particulars” of Wade’s experience will not be relevant in the evidentiary hearing, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 15, adding, “in my mind as long as a lawyer has a heartbeat and a bar card that lawyer’s appointment standing alone is a matter within the District Attorney’s discretion.”
In the 122-page filing submitted by Michael Roman’s attorneys, they claimed that they have a witness whose testimony challenges the denials made by Willis regarding the timeline of her relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade after their relationship allegedly began following her appointment of him as a special prosecutor in the investigation concerning Trump’s efforts to challenge the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Willis acknowledged her relationship with Wade in a 176-page court filing on February 2 in response to a motion filed on January 8 by Roman’s attorneys, seeking her disqualification from the case.
NEW: In a new filing, Mike Roman alleges that Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade misrepresented details about their personal relationship and Wade’s appointment as special prosecutor.https://t.co/gA3sj1Qoz4
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) February 9, 2024
In their filing, Roman’s attorneys named a friend of Wade who could corroborate that the relationship began before Willis assumed the role of district attorney, contradicting claims made by Wade in an affidavit attached to Willis’s filing on February 2, wherein he asserted that the relationship did not begin prior to 2022.
“Willis and Wade claim they did not have a personal, romantic relationship before Willis appointed Wade as a special prosecutor, but Terrence Bradley (‘Bradley’) will refute that claim,” Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, said in the filing, according to the Daily Caller.
“Bradley is an attorney and a member of the Georgia Bar. Bradley and Wade were friends and business associates. Bradley has non-privileged, personal knowledge that the romantic relationship between Wade and Willis began prior to Willis being sworn as the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, in January 2021,” the filing continued, per the outlet.
In Friday’s filing, Merchant also revealed two previously undisclosed trips that Wade and Willis took together: a Bahamas cruise in December 2022 and a trip to Belize in March 2023.
Last month, the judge presiding over the case she brought against Trump on election fraud charges, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, ordered an investigation into her alleged misconduct, that she and her lead prosecutor engaged in an improper relationship and mishandled taxpayer dollars, The Liberal Washington Post reported.
The Daily Caller previously reported that Willis did not disclose an airline ticket that was purchased for her by her Wade in 2022.
“Willis did not disclose any gifts from Wade on her annual Income and Financial Disclosure Report for 2022, which requires the disclosure of any gift or favor above $100 from a ‘prohibited source’ — such as anyone ‘doing business with the county.’ Willis hired Wade as a special prosecutor in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. Willis was recently accused of being Wade’s lover and inappropriately benefiting from lucrative contracts her office had given him,” The Daily Caller reported.
Bank statements obtained in a court filing show that Wade purchased a ticket to Miami for Willis for $477 in October 2022. On the same day as he purchased the airline ticket, he also made payments to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in the amounts of $1,387 and $1,284.
The post Judge In Trump’s Georgia Case Sets Date For Hearing That Could Disqualify Willis appeared first on Explain America.
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Author: Carmine Sabia
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