Judge reveals Trump prosecutor's divorce papers in Georgia

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A judge on Monday ordered the release of court records in the divorce involving a special prosecutor who was hired in the election case against Donald Trump and others and accused of having an affair with the Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, available.

But recently unsealed court records contained no reference to the affair allegations that have rocked the case in which Trump and 18 allies are accused of working to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the state.

The judge ordered the divorce proceedings involving special prosecutor Nathan Wade to be set aside after a defense attorney filed a motion alleging an inappropriate relationship between Willis and Wade. The judge also postponed a final decision on whether Willis must be questioned in the divorce proceedings, but postponed her testimony scheduled for Tuesday.

Willis has defended her hiring of Wade, who has little experience as a prosecutor, and has not directly denied a romantic relationship. She has accused Wade's estranged wife of trying to obstruct her election interference case against Trump and others by attempting to question her in the couple's divorce proceedings.

The affair allegations threaten to mar the prosecution as the Republican primary candidate and others seize on the claims to attack the case and Wade's qualifications as a prosecutor. Trump pleaded not guilty, denied any wrongdoing and called the charges politically motivated.

Open image modally Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at the Fulton County Government Center during a press conference on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Willis was served with the subpoena to testify in the divorce case on the same day that defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who represents former Trump campaign staffer and former White House adviser Michael Roman, filed a motion earlier this month alleging the romantic relationship between Willis and submitted Waden.

Documents filed in court indicate that Wade purchased airline tickets on behalf of Willis, and Joycelyn Wade's attorney argued that there “appears to be no reasonable explanation for her travels other than a romantic relationship.” Joycelyn Wade's attorney, Andrea Dyer Hastings, told the judge Monday that he believes Willis has “unique personal knowledge” related to the divorce case and should be subject to questioning.

“She’s trying to hide under the shield of her position,” Hastings said of Willis.

Cinque Axam, an attorney for Willis, said the question before the court is how the marital assets should be divided, and determining how that should be done has nothing to do with Willis, who does not share accounts with Nathan Wade and this I also can't control how he spends his money.

During a brief hearing in Cobb County Superior Court, Judge Henry Thompson said he could not decide whether Willis would have to sit for a deposition in the divorce proceedings until after Wade himself was questioned later this month. In ruling that court documents in the divorce case must be made public, he said a previous judge wrongly ordered the case closed without holding a hearing.

Joycelyn Wade's attorney wrote in court papers filed Friday that since filing for divorce, Nathan Wade has taken trips to San Francisco and Napa Valley, Florida, Belize, Panama and Australia, as well as cruises in the Caribbean, and that Willis has “at least one planned one.” Some of these trips are followed by the flights he bought for her to accompany him.”

The file includes credit card statements showing that Nathan Wade — after he was hired as special prosecutor — purchased plane tickets for him and Willis to travel to Miami in October 2022 and purchased tickets to San Francisco on their behalf in April.

It is one of four cases Trump is facing as he fights to return to the White House. Prosecutors are using a law usually associated with gangsters to accuse the former president, lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power. Four people have already pleaded guilty in the Georgia election case after making deals with prosecutors. The remaining 15, including Trump and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have pleaded not guilty.

Richer reported from Boston.

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