Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade have been subpoenaed to testify at a hearing scheduled for February 15th according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This latest twist comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the law firm of Ashleigh Merchant, which accuses Willis’s office of intentionally withholding information requested under the Open Records Act.
The heart of the controversy lies in allegations of an improper romantic relationship between Willis and Wade, as claimed in a motion filed earlier this month. The motion suggests that Willis benefited financially from this relationship, with Wade allegedly funding their vacations and hotel stays with taxpayer money earned from the election case. The allegations have added to the already contentious case.
Complicating matters further, Wade was expected to be questioned about his alleged relationship with Willis during his divorce proceedings. However, a temporary settlement in the divorce case led to the cancellation of this hearing. Despite being subpoenaed to testify in Wade’s divorce case, a decision on Willis’s testimony is pending, contingent on Wade’s initial testimony.
As the case unfolds, transparency and accountability have become focal points. Merchant’s lawsuit contends that the DA’s office is deliberately delaying its response to Open Records Act requests, a claim the DA’s office disputes, asserting compliance with all requests.
Merchant, who was recently inaugurated as the new president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, stated that the District Attorney’s office has not met the requirements of the law.
“It is disappointing to have to file lawsuits to obtain access to records that the public is entitled to,” Merchant said Wednesday to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We believe that transparency is vital to an open and responsible government and we hope that this can be resolved quickly so that we can get the public documents we are entitled to receive.”
Court documents submitted last month by Michael Roman, a co-defendant of Trump, contain allegations against Willis. The documents claim that Willis is involved in an “improper” affair with Wade, the special prosecutor she appointed to assist in prosecuting possibly the next US President.
The documents further allege that Wade, who reportedly lacks experience in RICO and felony prosecutions, has charged taxpayers around $600,000 since January 2022.
According to Roman’s filing, Wade invoiced Fulton County for 24 hours of work on a single day in November 2021, shortly after he was appointed special prosecutor. The filing also suggests that Willis financially benefited from what is described as her lover’s inflated taxpayer-funded salary, allegedly using it to fund lavish vacations together.
“Mr. Roman believes that Willis’ use of money budgeted to (the DA’s office) is of utmost importance in evaluating whether Willis and Wade have an irreparable and fatal conflict of interest and whether, and to what extent, Willis has otherwise used public monies for personal gain,” stated the lawsuit, which was submitted in Fulton State Court.
Scrutiny of Willis and Wade will remain even if the pair do not find themselves testifying in court. Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) haD previously filed an ethics complaint against Willis, and last week the Georgia State Senate launched a sweeping investigation into whether benefitted from an affair with a subordinate and tainted her case against the former president.
DA Willis has accused her critics of “playing the race card” in a fiery speech at a Black church in Atlanta, although she did not directly confirm or deny allegations of an affair.