Trump prosecutor Fani Willis accuses defense of ‘lies’ about misconduct

Trump prosecutor Fani Willis accuses defense of ‘lies’ about misconduct

Trump prosecutor Fani Willis accuses defense of ‘lies’ about misconduct By Reuters

Breaking News



Published Feb 15, 2024 06:02AM ET
Updated Feb 16, 2024 12:56AM ET

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at a press conference next to prosecutor Nathan Wade after a Grand Jury brought back indictments against former president Donald Trump and his allies in their attempt to overturn the state’s 2

By Andrew Goudsward

(Reuters) -Fani Willis, the prosecutor overseeing the election interference case against Donald Trump in Georgia, on Thursday pushed back on claims by the former U.S. president’s lawyers that her romance with a colleague presented a financial conflict of interest.

Willis repeatedly accused a lawyer for Michael Roman, a Trump co-defendant who initially raised the allegations, of lying in her statements to the court by implying that Willis had lived with the colleague.

“You’re confused. … You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020,” the Fulton County district attorney told the lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant.

Willis described the assertion in court papers the two had lived together as “another one of your lies.”

The district attorney took the stand after fellow prosecutor and former romantic partner Nathan Wade in testimony denied allegations of financial impropriety. Lawyers for Willis’ office initially opposed her testifying, but dropped their opposition when the prosecutor made a surprise entrance in the courtroom.

Trump and some of his co-defendants assert that Willis should be disqualified from the prosecution due to her relationship with Wade, who they say paid for trips the two took together while Wade was being paid by Willis’ office.

The Georgia case is one of four criminal prosecutions that Trump is facing as he closes in on securing the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election. Trump himself was in New York on Thursday where a judge scheduled a trial on charges related to hush-money payments to a porn star to start on March 25.

Wade on Thursday denied accusations that Willis financially benefited from the relationship, giving her an incentive to prolong the prosecution.

Wade testified that he booked travel with Willis to California, Belize and Aruba as well as a Caribbean cruse but said Willis either reimbursed him in cash or covered other expenses.

“She’s going to insist that she carries her own weight,” Wade said of Willis.

Defense lawyers grilled Wade on the trips, suggesting Willis would have had to pay thousands of dollars in cash to cover her share.

Wade spoke after a former friend and employee of Willis, Robin Yeartie, contradicted the timeline of the relationship Willis and Wade have presented to the court.

Yeartie testified that Willis and Wade began dating shortly after they met in 2019 and before Wade was contracted to lead the Trump case. Wade later testified that the relationship began early in 2022 while he was already working on the election probe.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee set the hearing, which is scheduled to continue on Friday, to determine whether Willis’ office should be disqualified from prosecuting the election case. That would cast doubt on the future of the prosecution.

Willis’ office has blasted the disqualification effort as a publicity stunt based on “fantastical theories and rank speculation.”

The allegations have roiled Willis’ historic prosecution of Trump and 14 allies who have pleaded not guilty to charges of forming a criminal conspiracy to overturn Trump’s 2020 defeat in Georgia.

Trump has long presented the Georgia prosecution, and others he faces, as politically motivated attempts to prevent him from returning to power. He has highlighted the claims against Willis as evidence of perceived misconduct by those pursing him.

Trump signed onto the disqualification effort, accusing Willis of improperly discussing race during a speech in which she appeared to reference the allegations. Willis, who along with Wade is Black, has said her remarks did not violate any ethical rules.

Trump’s lawyers have been working to delay the various prosecutions he faces. Were he to win the November election, he could order a halt to two federal prosecutions — or possibly pardon himself of any federal convictions — as well as argue that as president he should not face state prosecutions like the Georgia case.

Trump prosecutor Fani Willis accuses defense of ‘lies’ about misconduct

Our Apps

Terms And Conditions
Privacy Policy
Risk Warning
Do not sell my personal information

© 2007-2024 Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.