Georgia judge hears final arguments in affair allegations against Fani Willis

 A Georgia state judge is hearing closing arguments today on allegations that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis's relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade benefited her financially and should disqualify her from the case against former President Donald Trump. Needed

Willis and her office are leading the sweeping fraud cases against the former president and 18 co-defendants. Several co-defendants, including Michael Roman, accused Willis earlier this year of hiring Wade while they were romantically involved and profiting from his government salary through lavish vacations they spent together.

Both Willis and Wade have denied the allegations and claimed that their romantic involvement began after Wade was hired in 2021. Willis claimed in court testimony that she would always reimburse Wade in cash for her portion of their shared trips. There are no receipts for those reimbursements, and a witness claimed their relationship began in early 2019.

Roman's attorney John Merchant argued Friday that Georgia law is clear that the judge must use the legal standard of "presence" of a conflict to disqualify Willis, and said Wade was "part of the scheme that he The order was deliberately made to benefit her lover.”

The State is arguing to the contrary that the legal standard for disqualification is a material conflict. After a short break in the hearing, Fani Willis entered the courtroom and sat next to the lawyers representing the state.

Trump attorney Steve Sadow argued that Wills' comments at a church earlier this month, which said the allegations of an affair were race-based, were a "calculated determination" to "prejudge the defendants and their counsel." " Was.

Each side will have 90 minutes to present their case to the judge.

Before closing arguments began Friday, Judge Scott McAfee considered whether newly revealed text message data — reportedly showing that Wade visited Willis' private home at least 35 times before she was hired — Was – Must be admissible as evidence.

Wade testified last month that he had not visited Willis's condo more than 10 times before he was hired in November 2021. Willis and Wade say their relationship began in early 2022.

Cellphone data shows that Wade twice went to Willis's apartment late at night without leaving until the next morning.

Both Wade and Willis have testified that they did not sleep together at Willis's condo in Harperville.

The defense is trying to prove that Willis received any financial benefit from his relationship with Wade, which is the essence of their argument that Willis should be disqualified.

Earlier this week, former law firm partner and divorce attorney Terrence Bradley testified under oath about what he knew about Willis and Wade's personal relationship. Bradley took the stance after McAfee determined that Bradley could not claim attorney-client privilege.

When pressed under oath, Bradley said he did not remember many details and timelines of conversations he had with former client Wade about Wade's romantic relationship with Willis.

Bradley said he couldn't recall key details or specific information more than two dozen times during nearly two hours of testimony in Fulton County Superior Court on Tuesday. He also said that he had discussed Wade's relationship with Willis only once.

Earlier this month, Willis' father, John C. Floyd III, took the stand and corroborated Willis' testimony, saying that his father had taught him to keep large amounts of cash on him at all times. She said that with this money she reimbursed Wade for luxury trips, which is why she had no record of the payment.

Floyd also said he did not meet Wade until 2023 and was not aware that his daughter had a romantic relationship with Wade until about seven weeks ago, when Willis' allegations of impropriety were first made in court filings. They went.

Trump camp claims text messages show timeline of events leading to Fannie Willis' disqualification

Michael Roman, a GOP political operative and co-defendant in the Trump case, previously alleged that Willis had a conflict of interest in the case because she benefited financially from hiring her boyfriend. Four co-defendants face similar allegations.

The defense, led by John Merchant, is also trying to prove that Willis and Wade were romantically involved before Wade's employment at the DA's office.

Willis' former "good friend" and former DA's office employee Robin Yearty testified that she had "no doubt" that Willis and Wade's relationship began in 2019, when the two met at a conference.

Willis rejected Eartie's testimony and said she no longer considered Eartie a friend.

The highlight of the two-day proceedings was Willis's own – and unexpected – testimony, which one expert described as "combative".

She argued verbally with the lawyers for hours, at one point leading the judge to threaten to cancel her testimony. She frowned even as she wore her dress backwards. She did not return to the witness stand the next day.

McAfee said at the start of the proceedings this month that it was "clear that disqualification can occur when evidence of an actual conflict or its presence is presented."

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