Georgia Trump prosecutor seeks to avoid testifying

 January 19, 2024

Fani Willis, the district attorney overseeing the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald J. Trump, is facing attempts to quash a subpoena requiring her testimony in the divorce proceedings of Nathan J. Wade, a special prosecutor she hired for the case.

Accusations of a romantic relationship between Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade were presented in a court filing by Michael Roman, one of Trump's co-defendants, alleging a conflict of interest and seeking their removal from the case.

The details

Mr. Roman's lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, claims sealed court records in Mr. Wade's divorce case contain evidence of the alleged relationship.

The pending divorce involves Mr. Wade and his wife, Joycelyn. The filing accuses Ms. Wade of conspiring to distress and embarrass Ms. Willis, emphasizing the timing of the subpoena coinciding with motions to unseal divorce records and dismiss prosecutors in the Trump case.

In response, Ms. Willis denied any personal knowledge relevant to the divorce and emphasized the declared irretrievable breakdown of Mr. Wade's marriage.

Her lawyer, Cinque Axam, argued that when both parties assert a broken marriage, there is no genuine issue to address.

The hearing

The judge presiding over the Trump case scheduled a hearing on Feb. 15 to address Mr. Roman's motion seeking the removal of Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade from the case.

This motion also calls for the dismissal of charges against Mr. Roman. The judge ordered Ms. Willis to submit a written response by Feb. 2 and to appear at the televised hearing.

The unexpected turn of events adds a new layer to the case. A recent email exchange between defense lawyers and prosecutors revealed tensions, with Ms. Willis stating that "some people will never be able to respect African Americans," blaming race for the accusations.

This exchange occurred before and after the filing alleging the romantic relationship.

What's next?

The proceedings continue with a hearing on the unsealing of divorce files scheduled for Jan. 31 in Cobb County, Georgia, and the hearing on Feb. 15 addressing the motions in the Trump case.

"Trump, Roman, and 17 others pleaded not guilty in August to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia," in the Trump case, according to ABC News.

"Defendants Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, Jena Ellis and Scott Hall subsequently took plea deals in exchange for agreeing to testify against other defendants," it added.

The developments in the case highlight the complexity and intertwining of legal, personal, and professional aspects, with ongoing scrutiny of various dimensions of the proceedings.

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