A Georgia state judge on Monday confirmed that he will hold an evidentiary hearing on Thursday over allegations that embattled District Attorney Fani Willis engaged in an "improper" affair.
Willis was accused of having an "improper" affair with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired to help prosecute former President Donald Trump in a sweeping racketeering case related to the 2020 election. Those allegations were first made by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, who is arguing that Willis’ alleged conduct should disqualify her and her team from the case.
Willis, who admitted to a personal relationship with Wade but denied any conflict of interest, asked the court to cancel the evidentiary hearing slated for later this week.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said in a hearing Monday considering those motions, "in studying the law that's been filed up to this point, I think it's clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one. And the filing submitted on this issue so far have presented a conflict in the evidence that can't be resolved as a matter of law."
"Specifically looking at defendant Roman’s motion, it alleges a personal relationship that resulted in a financial benefit to the district attorney. And that is no longer a matter of complete speculation. The state has admitted a relationship existed. And so, what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit," the judge said.
"So, because I think it's possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification, I think an evidentiary hearing must occur to establish the record on those core allegations," he said.
In legal filings last month, Roman alleged that Wade billed Fulton County for 24 hours of work on a single day in November 2021, shortly after being appointed as a special prosecutor, and that Willis financially benefited from her alleged lover’s padded taxpayer-funded salary by taking lavish vacations together on his dime.
According to the court documents, Wade, who has no RICO and felony prosecution experience, billed taxpayers $654,000 since January 2022.
Judge McAfee said Monday that "the particulars" of Wade’s experience will not be relevant in the evidentiary hearing, which will take place on Thursday, Feb. 15, adding, "in my mind as long as a lawyer has a heartbeat and a bar card that lawyer’s appointment standing alone is a matter within the District Attorney’s discretion."... (Read more)
Submitted 17 days ago