Lawyer Who Disclosed Fani Willis Relationship Reveals New Leads
Lawyer Who Disclosed Fani Willis Relationship Reveals New Leads

By Jack Phillips

The lawyer for a Trump co-defendant who filed the motion accusing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of engaging in an improper relationship with her former special counsel said that she has new plans to oust her from the Trump case.

Ashleigh Merchant filed a motion to disqualify Ms. Willis in January, kicking off a series of hearings that ultimately led to the ouster of her special counsel, Nathan Wade. Ms. Merchant alleged that Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade engaged in a relationship in which she financially benefitted, although the financial allegations were not confirmed.

Last week, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ruled that Ms. Willis must remove Mr. Wade from her team or she must resign from the case. Mr. Wade later stepped down from his position, while Ms. Willis has signaled she will continue prosecuting the case.

During an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Ms. Merchant said that there is “a lot of information” in the disqualification case “that wasn’t necessarily relevant to my motion that I wasn’t able to bring into court but that other agencies are also investigating.”

When Ms. Willis testified, the lawyer said, “What surprised me was that she didn’t bring anything to actually back it up.”

“So if someone had accused me of wrongdoing, I’m going to bring my phone. I’m going to bring my text messages. I’m going to bring my bank records. So that surprised me that she didn’t bring any actual proof. We just were stuck with her word that she paid back these transactions in cash,” she added, referring to details that were presented during the court hearing. “I would have brought transaction slips. I would have brought a lot of information if I had planned on taking the stand.”

Meanwhile, she noted that Georgia state lawmakers are investigating Ms. Willis in regard to the allegations and could take punitive action against the district attorney.

“They’re actually looking at a couple of different things,” Ms. Merchant said of a Senate committee that is investigating the claims. “They’re looking at changing laws, if there’s any laws that are in place that they need to amend or change.”

At one point this month, Ms. Merchant appeared before the hearing and claimed that White House records she obtained revealed that Ms. Willis had a meeting at the White House with Vice President Kamala Harris months before the district attorney filed the charges against President Trump and the others. The nature of the meeting was not clear, and neither the vice president nor Ms. Willis have commented on the claims.

“They can also remove her from office,” Ms. Merchant continued to say during Wednesday’s interview. “Our governor just signed a law that now has oversight over district attorneys, and so they actually can remove her from office. That’s a law that’s going into effect this summer. So I think we’ll be seeing a lot of investigations coming.”

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade testified at a hearing last month that they had engaged in a romantic relationship, but they rejected the idea that she improperly benefited from it, as lawyers for President Trump and some of his co-defendants alleged. The pair also insisted they didn’t begin dating until after he became special prosecutor and the relationship ended in the summer of 2023. They both said that Ms. Willis either paid for things herself or used cash to reimburse him for travel expenses.

Judge McAfee wrote in the order last week that there was insufficient evidence that she had a personal stake in the prosecution. And he said he was unable to “conclusively establish by a preponderance of the evidence” whether Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade began dating before or after he was hired as special prosecutor.

“However, an odor of mendacity remains,” the judge wrote, alluding to the allegations made against the two.

Defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant of Georgia is subpoenaed to testify to a Georgia state Senate committee on the investigation of the actions of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on March 6. (Viemo / Screenshot via NTD)

On Monday, lawyers for President Trump and other defendants filed an appeal of Judge McAfee’s decision, again seeking to disqualify Ms. Willis from the case or to dismiss the charges against them.

“Whether District Attorney Willis and her Office are permitted to continue representing the State of Georgia in prosecuting the Defendants in this action is of the utmost importance to this case, and ensuring the appellate courts have the opportunity to weigh in on these matters pre-trial is paramount,” they attorneys wrote in court papers.

In response, Judge McAfee on Wednesday granted their request to ask the Georgia Court of Appeals to review his decision. The appeals court has not issued a decision on whether to hear the case yet.

The Epoch Times contacted the Fulton County District Attorney’s office for comment Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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