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Feb 15, 2024, 4:22pm EST
North America

Judge threatens to dismiss Trump prosecutor Fani Willis’s testimony in dramatic hearing

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on Feb. 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Ga..
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The News

A romantic relationship between two prosecutors leading the indictment of former President Donald Trump over his efforts to overturn his Georgia election loss began earlier than previously disclosed, a key witness told a hearing Thursday.

The defense said that timeline, which Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis disputed, should disqualify both prosecutors from working on the case. Doing so would likely cause months of delays — at a minimum — which would be an advantage to Trump as he campaigns for reelection.

During a dramatic hearing, Judge Scott McAfee warned Willis that he would have to strike her testimony from the record if she refused to answer the questions as asked. At one point, McAfee called a five-minute recess after Willis shouted “It is a lie!” In response to the defense’s claim that she lived with the prosecutor in question.

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“You all know what professionalism looks like; we all know what decorum looks like,” McAfee said when the hearing resumed.

Lawyers for co-defendants of Trump said that because the prosecutor Willis hired, Nathan Wade, has been paid more than $650,000 since he was hired in 2021 and has spent money on vacations with Willis in that time period, their relationship created a financial conflict of interest. The argument is that Willis financially benefitted from the case against Trump because it paid Wade’s salary, which he used to pay for dates and vacations. Willis said she reimbursed him for portions of the trips in question.

The couple have maintained that their relationship began after Willis hired Wade and had no bearing on the criminal case, but the witness – a former friend of Willis, Robin Bryant-Yeartie – said Thursday she had “no doubt” the relationship began before he was hired.

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Willis’s testimony was highly personal, describing as “extremely offensive” a defense lawyer’s insinuation that she slept with Wade the first time she met him in 2019. Willis also repeatedly said that the lawyer’s filing were full of “lies.”

“I’m not on trial,” Willis said. “These people are on trial for stealing an election.”

Willis said her romantic relationship with Wade ended sometime in late summer 2023. “We had a tough conversation in August,” she said.

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