This just in: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade have both received subpoenas to testify regarding allegations of their inappropriate romantic relationship.
The hearing, scheduled for February 15, involves motions to disqualify both Willis and Wade from the high-profile election interference case against Trump.
Take a look at the breaking news:
🚨 BREAKING: Fulton County DA Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade subpoenaed to testify on alleged improper relationshiphttps://t.co/Yj36p3aPSx— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) January 31, 2024
BREAKING: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, one of her top prosecutors in the Georgia election interference case, have been subpoenaed to testify at a hearing examining alleged misconduct, according to a new lawsuit. https://t.co/mvf8SN6UHi pic.twitter.com/XliEhTrnxl— ABC News (@ABC) January 31, 2024
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported:
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade have been subpoenaed to testify at a Feb. 15 hearing involving motions to disqualify them from the election interference case, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The lawsuit, filed by the law firm of Ashleigh Merchantagainst the DA’s office, contends the office is intentionally withholding information sought in Open Records Act requests in advance of the upcoming hearing. The DA’s office, in a recent letter, said it has complied with state law.
Merchant represents Michael Roman, one of 15 remaining defendants in the racketeering case that accuses former President Donald Trump of overseeing a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.
Earlier this month, Merchant filed an explosive motion that argues Willis and her office should be disqualified from the election case because she has been involved in an improper romantic relationship with Wade. The motion said Willis benefited financially from the relationship, with Wade paying for their vacations and hotel stays with taxpayer money he made for his work on the election case.
Wade was expected to be questioned on Wednesday about the alleged relationship with Willis during a hearing in his divorce proceedings. But on Tuesday he settled with his estranged wife on a temporary basis, cancelling the hearing. Willis had been subpoenaed to testify in the divorce case, but Cobb County Superior Court Judge Henry Thompson said he wants to hear from Wade first before deciding whether Willis needs to testify.
Now it appears possible that Willis and Wade will have to testify at the Feb. 15 hearing before Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, although they may seek to quash Merchant’s subpoenas. Willis, who has yet to directly address the allegations, has been directed by McAfee to file a response by Friday.
ABC News added more details:
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Nathan Wade, one of her top prosecutors in the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and 18 others, have been subpoenaed to testify at an upcoming evidentiary hearing set to examine allegations that they were involved in an improper relationship while investigating the former president, according to a new lawsuit filed in Georgia this week.
The claim that Willis and Wade had been subpoenaed to testify was contained in a copy of the lawsuit, obtained by ABC News, that was filed by the attorney for one of Trump’s co-defendants in the election case, accusing the Fulton County district attorney’s office of “intentionally withholding information.”
The lawsuit accuses the office of “stonewalling” the attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, in her efforts to obtain records from the office through public information requests.
In a statement to ABC News, a spokesperson for the DA’s office said they had not yet been served the lawsuit, and said, “We provided her with all the materials she requested and is entitled to.”
In a letter sent to Merchant on Friday, provided to ABC News by the DA’s office, the DA’s office pushed back on her allegations that they have failed to meet their obligations, writing they “disagree with your disingenuous implication.”
The issuing of the subpoenas could set up a high-stakes battle for both Willis and Wade, who have remained virtually silent on the issue but may now have to testify under oath during the televised hearing on Feb. 15, as Trump and other co-defendants seek to use the allegations to have the two removed from the case and the indictment thrown out.
That hearing was scheduled two weeks ago by the judge in the election case. The judge also ordered the office to file their response to the allegations in court by Feb. 2.
Merchant, the attorney for Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, made the misconduct allegations against Willis earlier this month in a filing that seeks to dismiss the election interference indictment and disqualify Willis based on allegations that she “engaged in a personal, romantic relationship” with prosecutor Nathan Wade that allegedly resulted in financial gain for both of them.
Merchant’s new lawsuit accuses the DA’s office of “an apparent effort to intentionally stall” her continued effort to gather information on the matter.
“It is evidence that the [Fulton County District Attorney] has withheld the records without substantial justification,” the complaint stated. “Indeed, it appears that [Fulton County DA’s Office] is acting intentionally and in an effort to hide from public view public documents showing how [the office] has spent public monies related to the operation of the office.”