By Catherine Yang
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is prosecuting the Georgia election case against former President Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants, was given a Feb. 2 deadline to respond to a motion alleging improper use of funds and that she had an affair with a prosecutor she hired on the high-profile case.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, presiding over the case, has ordered a hearing for Feb. 15.
The allegations were made by defendant Michael Roman, a strategist who participated in the 2020 Trump campaign. Mr. Roman cited only anonymous sources, without submitting evidence, but later told reporters he had witnesses ready to testify against Ms. Willis.
In a 100-plus page filing, Mr. Roman argued that the behavior alleged was grounds for dismissal of the charges against President Trump and dismissal of the district attorney and her team.
Nathan Wade, an attorney with a private law firm, was hired by Ms. Willis and has argued at nearly every hearing in the case since its inception. After Mr. Roman’s motion last week, Mr. Wade became the subject of a congressional investigation and news headlines, with multiple media outlets seeking the sealed records of his ongoing divorce.
Mr. Roman alleged that Mr. Wade had been paid about $650,000 with public funds intended for use to clear COVID-era backlogs and had received other funds that were used to pay for “lavish” vacations with Ms. Willis.
“Admittedly, this is a bold allegation considering it is directed to one of the most powerful people in the State of Georgia, the Fulton County District Attorney,” the filing reads. “Nevertheless, the district attorney’s fame and power do not change the fact that she decided to appoint as the special prosecutor a person with whom she had a personal relationship and who is now leading the day-to-day prosecution of this case.”
Mr. Roman argued that public records don’t show that Ms. Willis obtained county approval before appointing Mr. Wade as special prosecutor, and that the records in his ongoing divorce case have been sealed.
This “indefensible conduct” created an “irreparable defect” in the indictment, he said.
On Jan. 12, during a procedural motions hearing for the Fulton County case, the motion was barely addressed, with prosecutors indicating only that they would later file a response.
The same day, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Mr. Wade requesting his cooperation and asking him to turn over materials that may show “collusion” between the district attorney and the Jan. 6 Select Committee.
During the court hearing, Steve Sadow, attorney for President Trump, requested—and was granted—the option to adopt the motion at a later date.
Mr. Sadow said he presently had no foundation for the “scandalous and salacious” allegations, the first of which was made public through the court filing, and would wait to see the district attorney’s response filing before making a decision to adopt Mr. Roman’s filing.
Ms. Willis publicly addressed the allegations for the first time on Jan. 15 at a church service honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
“I appointed three special counselors. It’s my right to do. Paid them all the same hourly rate,” she said. “They only attack one. I hired one white woman: a good personal friend and great lawyer, a superstar, I tell you. I hired one white man: brilliant, my friend, and a great lawyer. And I hired one black man, another superstar, a great friend, and a great lawyer.”
“Isn’t it them playing the race card when they only question one?” Ms. Willis said.
She touted Mr. Wade’s resume and didn’t respond to allegations of an affair or misuse of funds.