Atlanta, GA
66°
Partly Cloudy
6:59 am8:12 pm EDT
SunMonTue
57°F / 45°F
66°F / 45°F
73°F / 50°F

Local News

Fulton 19 update: DA subpoenaed, Willis admits ‘relationship,’ federal trial delayed

Credit: Ross Williams/Georgia Recorder

Stanley Dunlap, Georgia Recorder
February 5, 2024

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed financial records and other documents connected to a U.S. Department of Justice grant awarded to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office.

In a letter sent to Willis on Friday, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan said the the subpoena is needed to allow his panel to investigate a whistleblower’s complaint filed by a former Fulton DA employee who alleged she was fired for voicing concerns about Willis considering purchasing laptops and “swag” with funds earmarked for youth gang prevention.

The Fulton DA’s office responded Friday that the DOJ grant was not improperly spent and accused the ex-employee of making meritless claims as payback for being fired two years ago.

“Any examination of the records of our grant programs will find that they are highly effective and conducted in cooperation with the Department of Justice and in compliance with all Department of Justice requirements,” the DA’s office said in a statement.

Jordan’s Republican-controlled committee has long sought out ways to target Willis because of her decision to prosecute former President Donald Trump in Georgia’s sweeping felony 2020 election interference case.

Last fall, Jordan accused Willis of not having the authority regulating federal officers charged in Georgia’s election interference case, causing Willis to call the Ohio Republican chairman woefully ignorant of Georgia law and the U.S. Constitution.

Willis confirms ‘personal relationship’ with special prosecutor

Willis acknowledged Friday that she had a romantic relationship with a special prosecutor overseeing the election case against Trump and his co-defendants. However, she rejected calls for her to be disqualified from the case.

In a Fulton Superior Court filing on Friday, Willis confirmed that she has had a personal relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade as alleged in a court filing by defendants in the case, but rejected allegations that their relationship was a conflict of interest and misuse of taxpayer funds for personal gain.

Willis said that she and Wade strictly had a professional relationship and were friends prior to Wade’s appointment to the case in November 2021.

The relationship became romantic in 2022, said Willis, who accused defense lawyers of trying to manufacture a conflict of interest based on irrelevant allegations.

“Finding a financial conflict of interest on the prosecutor’s part is exceedingly rare but has been found to arise when a special prosecutor is compensated by a contingency fee that is paid upon conviction,” Willis said in Friday’s response.

Wade has been paid more than $650,000 since being appointed by Willis as a lead prosecutor in the historic case against Trump and the former Republican president’s co-defendants.

In early January, an attorney for Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign official and one of Trump’s Fulton co-defendants, accused Willis and Wade of being romantically involved while financially profiting off their relationship. In a divorce filing, Wade’s estranged wife released credit card statements under Wade’s name showing roundtrip airline tickets purchased for himself and Willis to San Francisco and Miami in 2022 and 2023.

Judge Scott McAfee has scheduled a Feb. 15 court hearing on the defense motions seeking to remove Willis from the case.

Trump March 4  federal trial postponed

A Washington D.C. election interference trial for Trump that was scheduled to begin on March 4 was postponed Friday by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.

Chutkan delayed the trial until after an appeals court determines whether Trump is protected by presidential immunity from federal court charges related to his actions prior to his term expiring in January 2021.

Trump’s attorneys have sought to delay trials in the nation’s capital and Georgia until after the November presidential election when Trump is expected to face Vice President Joe Biden in a rematch from 2020.

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: info@georgiarecorder.com. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Georgia Recorder under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.