Merchant alleged, without evidence, that Willis and Wade took expensive vacations funded by income Wade earned from his work on the case. The agreement violated rules prohibiting conflicts of interest, Merchant argued, and was grounds for the judge to exclude Willis and her team from prosecution.
Before joining the Trump investigation, Wade apparently had no experience prosecuting complex cases. Wade's bio on his law firm's website boasts of his experience in personal injury matters, family law, contract disputes and other civil matters.
Willis' office said it would respond to the allegations in court filings. In an order issued Thursday, McAfee directed Willis to do just that.
Willis recently defended Wade's qualifications in remarks during a service honoring Martin Luther King Jr. She did not address the allegations of impropriety.
In November 2021, one day after joining the district attorney's team, Wade filed for divorce from his wife of more than two decades. This divorce case is now tied to the Trump case, as Wade's wife, Joycelyn Wade, recently subpoenaed Willis to testify in the divorce case.
The Wade divorce proceedings are sealed. A hearing on whether to unseal the divorce case will be held on Jan. 31 — two days before McAfee's new deadline. Merchant has called for the proceedings to be uncovered, and earlier this week a coalition of media companies came out in support of the proceedings being uncovered.
On Thursday, Willis filed a motion to vacate the subpoena for her deposition, scheduled for Jan. 23, on the grounds that she is in a divorce case in which both parties have agreed that the marriage has “irretrievably broken down” since 2021. could not provide any relevant evidence.
Willis called the subpoena an attempt to “embarrass” and “harass” her and said it was coordinated with Roman. She noted that the subpoena for her testimony came at the same time as Roman's allegations of an inappropriate relationship between Willis and Wade. And she said the only conceivably relevant information she would have for Wade's divorce – details of his compensation as her employee – had already been provided.
“Joycelyn Wade has identified no other relevant basis for District Attorney Willis' questioning or investigation,” Willis' attorney Cinque Axam wrote.
Willis' filing did not address Roman's claims that she and Nathan Wade had a personal relationship.
Merchant, Roman's attorney, responded to Willis' claim of coordination.
“As she did in Fulton County, Willis is attempting to create a conspiracy where none exists,” Merchant said. “We submitted Mr. Roman’s application on the day it was due, January 8th. We believe their filing in Cobb County is just another attempt to avoid having to directly answer the important questions raised by Mr. Roman.”