Georgia judge orders hearing on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct in Trump case

The Georgia judge overseeing the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others has ordered a hearing next month to consider allegations of misconduct against the district attorney who initiated the case.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a special prosecutor and is facing allegations of misconduct.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has scheduled a hearing for Feb. 15 to hear evidence on allegations filed last week in a motion filed last week by defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who accused Michael Roman, a former employee the Trump 2020 campaign and former White House adviser. Roman is one of 19 people charged in the indictment filed by Willis.

The filing alleges that Willis was involved in an inappropriate romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the attorney she hired, and questions Wade's qualifications for the job. Wade was a municipal judge before being hired as part of the Trump prosecution team, and he had a private practice focused on family law and contract disputes, The Hill reported.

Merchant wrote in her filing last week that Wade received large sums of money and used some of his earnings to take Willis on vacation to Napa Valley, Florida and the Caribbean. She said this amounts to the couple “significantly benefiting from this prosecution at taxpayer expense.”

According to records reviewed by WXIA-TV, Wade was paid over half a million dollars more between 2022 and 2023 than the other two special prosecutors who worked on the case.

The defense attorney's filing provided no evidence of the alleged relationship or trips they said Willis and Wade took together. She mentioned “sources close” to Willis and Wade without elaborating.

She also claims that Willis did not receive the necessary approval from county executives to hire Wade and that no special prosecutor's oath was filed for him.

Merchant also questioned Wade's qualifications to try the case, saying she could find no evidence that Wade – whose law firm touts on the website his experience in civil litigation, including car accident and family law cases – ever prosecuted a felony case have.

The motion seeks to dismiss the charges and bar Willis and Wade and their offices from pursuing the case.

Willis' office has said it will respond to Merchant's motion for a jury trial, but has not provided a timeline for the response.

More than a week after the allegations of an inappropriate relationship surfaced, Willis has not denied the claims, and neither has Wade, The Hill reported.

On Thursday, Willis accused Wade's estranged wife, Joycelyn Wade, of trying to obstruct her criminal election interference case against Trump and the other defendants by attempting to question them in the couple's divorce proceedings. An attorney for Willis wrote in a filing that Joycelyn Wade's attorneys served the district attorney with a subpoena last week.

The filing alleges that the subpoena is being sought “in an attempt to harass and harm Willis' professional reputation” and accuses Joycelyn Wade of “conspiring with interested parties in the criminal election interference case to undermine the civil investigation.” to use to annoy, embarrass and…“suppress” the prosecutor.

The attempt to question Willis was an “obstruction and interference” in an ongoing criminal case, lawyer Cinque Axam wrote on Thursday in the lawsuit seeking to quash the subpoena.

The district attorney's attorney wrote that Nathan and Joycelyn Wade have been separated for more than two years and are in an “uncontested, no-fault divorce” and that there is “no relevant basis” to question Willis.

Willis' Thursday filing does not address the question of whether she and Wade had a romantic relationship.

Andrea Hastings, an attorney for Joycelyn Wade, said they wanted to help her “settle her divorce fairly and confidentially” and that any response to Willis' request would be made in a filing with the court.

Roman's defense attorney's motion also mentioned that the files related to Wade's impending divorce were sealed, but that she had filed a motion to have them unsealed. Several news outlets filed a request for access to these documents on Tuesday.

“Ms Willis alleges that her statement is being used with the aim of harassing and damaging her professional reputation. “Why should her truthful statement tarnish her reputation?” Merchant wrote in an email Thursday.

She accused Willis of trying to “create a conspiracy where none exists” and pointed out that she filed her motion within the deadline for pretrial motions in the election case.

“We believe their filing in Cobb County is just another attempt to avoid having to directly answer the important questions raised by Mr. Roman,” Merchant wrote.

Willis did not address allegations of an inappropriate relationship during a speech Sunday at the historic Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta.

She said she hired three special prosecutors for the election case: a white man, a white woman and a black man. They were paid the same hourly rate and no one questioned the qualifications of the two white lawyers, she said.

Although she never mentioned Nathan Wade by name, she called him a “superstar, a great friend and a great lawyer.” She cited his achievements and previous professional experiences.

She did not speak to reporters after the service.

As CBN News reported in August, a Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others.

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