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Fulton County hearing: Trump case hangs in balance as judge mulls DA Willis’ disqualification

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(ATLANTA) — Following three days of testimony plus closing arguments, Scott McAfee, the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s Georgia election interference case, is weighing motions to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, primarily over accusations from Trump co-defendant Michael Roman that she benefited financially from a “personal, romantic relationship” with prosecutor Nathan Wade, who she hired for the case.

Willis and Wade, in a court filing, admitted to the relationship but said it “does not amount to a disqualifying conflict of interest” and that the relationship “has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis.”

Mar 05, 7:10 PM
Defense says Willis committed ‘unforgivable’ misconduct

In a court filing responding to Willis’ filing, Trump’s attorneys reemphasized their stance that Willis committed “appalling and unforgivable” forms of forensic misconduct, accusing her of “testifying falsely” about the timeline of her relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Trump attorney Steve Sadow said in the filing that Willis also committed forensic misconduct by “stoking racial and religious prejudice” against the defendants with her church speech following the allegations, in which she said the allegations were motivated by race.

“While the State claims that no prosecutor has ever been disqualified in Georgia for forensic misconduct, no prosecutor in Georgia, elected or otherwise, has engaged in misconduct like Willis and Wade have here,” the filing states.

Trump’s attorney urged the judge “not to permit” Willis and Wade to continue on the case “where they have flouted and violated” rules of conduct.

“To do otherwise will be viewed by the public and within the criminal justice system as an open license for prosecutors to engage in flagrant and egregious misconduct without repercussion or appropriate sanctions by the very court before which the misconduct occurred,” the filing said.

Mar 05, 7:01 PM
Willis urges court to reject disqualification effort

DA Fani Willis’s office on Tuesday urged the judge to reject the disqualification effort against her, arguing in a filing that Trump and his co-defendants failed to meet the “high” standard required by law to disqualify an elected district attorney.

Willis’ office, in the filing, told the judge the law requires him to find a “high standard of proof” that she has an actual conflict of interest or that she engaged in forensic misconduct — which she says she did not do. She urged the judge to reject the arguments from Trump and others that the judge can disqualify her based solely on an appearance of a conflict.

“The binding caselaw in Georgia is clear: a trial court is not authorized to disqualify an elected district attorney absent a showing,” the filing states. “Every Georgia case that has addressed the issue has reached the same conclusion: in order to authorize a trial court to disqualify an elected district attorney, an actual conflict of interest must be proven.”

The filing said Trump and some of his co-defendants have asked the judge to instead to adopt a “novel” legal standard for disqualification “that has never before been recognized in Georgia.”

“But no such standard exists under our law,” the filing states.

The filing also emphasized that, based on the law, any alleged benefit a prosecutor received must be material, writing that a “nebulous” benefit that is not directly tied to the outcome of the case “is not enough to warrant disqualification.”

“Here, the Defendants have not even alleged — and certainly have not proven –that the District Attorney received any benefit contingent upon the outcome of this case,” the filing said.

Mar 05, 2:52 PM
Co-defendant says 2nd witness can dispute timeline testimony

As Judge Scott McAfee continues to weigh the potential disqualification of DA Fani Willis, one of Trump’s co-defendants is now offering a second witness who they say would dispute the testimony of prosecutor Nathan Wade’s former attorney, Terrance Bradley, regarding his lack of knowledge of the timing of Wade and Willis’ relationship.

Attorneys for defendant Cathy Latham say they spoke to attorney Manny Aurora, who represented former co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro, who later took a plea deal in the election case. Aurora, according to a motion filed Monday, told them he had “several” conversations with Bradley in which Bradley said he had “personal knowledge” regarding the timeline of Willis’ relationship with Wade, which Willis and Wade testified did not begin until after Willis hired Wade to work on the election case in November 2021.

According to the motion, Bradley allegedly told Aurora during their discussions that Wade and Willis had “definitely” begun a romantic relational in 2019.

“Mr. Bradley stated he had personal knowledge of the relationship between Mr. Wade and district Attorney Willis, including details regarding the use of Ms. Robin Yeartie’s apartment such as Mr. Wade’s having a garage opener to the property,” the filing claims.

Mar 01, 4:25 PM
Hearing concludes, judge says ruling expected within 2 weeks

DA Fani Willis and members of her team stood up and left as prosecutor Adam Abbate concluded his argument on behalf of the state.

Willis looked stern and made no comment as she left the courtroom.

The defense then presented its rebuttal, led by Trump attorney Steve Sadow.

Judge Scott McAfee then concluded the hearing, saying he hopes to have a ruling on Willis’ disqualification within the next two weeks.

Mar 01, 4:07 PM
Judge presses DA’s office: ‘Money has changed hands’

State attorney Adam Abbate said that allegations that DA Fani Willis financially benefited from her relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade were “all speculation and conjecture” lodged in order to “harrass and honestly embarrass” her.

Abbate said Willis was subjected to irrelevant questioning on the witness stand that was intended “to again embarrass and harass the district attorney in a way that was very public, in a way that was to impugn her character as it relates to that line of questioning in front of the court, in front of anyone watching the proceedings.”

But Judge Scott McAfee pressed the DA’s office after they suggested Willis’ alleged conflict was theoretical or speculative.

“Aren’t we past the speculation and conjecture aspect of this, though?” McAfee asked, saying that “the core of the financial allegation was that there is a relationship, and that money has changed hands.”

“I think it was conceded that that balance could run in the district attorney’s favor — is that contested?” the judge asked.

The DA’s office responded that they did contest that, saying the costs paid by each party were “equal.”

But the judge pushed back again, saying the bottom line remained: “It’s no longer just a theory that money changed hands.”

“It’s no longer speculation or conjecture,” the judge said.

Willis, seated at the prosecution table, appeared alert and highly engaged during Abbate’s arguments, visibly nodding or shaking her head at points.

She at one point scribbled down a note and passed it to Abbate, during his presentation of arguments on behalf of the DA’s office.

At the end of his arguments, Abbate mounted an impassioned plea for the judge to dismiss the defendants’ claim that Willis sought to live a lavish lifestyle on the taxpayer dime — citing her relatively humble accommodations during a visit to Napa Valley: a DoubleTree Hotel.

“Most people, when they go to Napa — if they want to lavishly experience Napa — stay at the Ritz Carlton, the Four Seasons, things of that nature — not a DoubleTree. So the allegations and assertions that Miss Willis was living the lifestyle of the rich and the famous is a joke,” he said. “An absolute joke.”

Abbate added there was “no validity” to arguments that the speech Willis made at the church would prejudice a jury.

“For all the reasons before Your Honor, this motion should be denied because the legal requirements by that are required in order for the district attorney to be disqualified have not been satisfied,” Abbate concluded.

Mar 01, 3:20 PM
State attorney says arguments don’t prove ‘actual conflict’

Adam Abbate, an attorney with the district attorney’s office, argued that defendants had failed to meet the “high standard of proof” for disqualification — calling the narrative they spun about Willis and Wade’s relationship “absolutely absurd.”

“It doesn’t make any sense,” Abbate said. “The motions to disqualify should be denied, and Miss Willis as district attorney of Fulton County, and Mr. Wade, as the special prosecutor assigned to this case, should be allowed to remain on this case and continue to prosecute the case.”

Contrary to what defense attorneys argued, Abbate argued that they must prove an “actual conflict” of interest to secure a disqualification — not just the “appearance of impropriety.”

“The defense has to show an actual conflict, and in this instance, they have to show in the actual conflict would be that Miss Willis received a financial benefit or gain — and got it based upon the outcome of the case,” Abbate said.

“We have absolutely no evidence that Miss Willis received any financial gain or benefit,” he argued. “The testimony was that Miss Willis paid all of the money back in cash as related to the trips.”

Judge McAfee seemed skeptical of that argument, citing language that allows for removal based on the “appearance of impropriety” and referencing examples of past misconduct raised by the defendants.

Abbate pushed back, arguing that in each of those cases, the “appearance of impropriety … arose from the fact that the court found an actual conflict in each of those cases.”

Abbate also called into question the credibility of defendants’ key witnesses in the disqualification hearings, calling the testimony of Robin Yeartie, ex-friend of Willis, “at best inconsistent.”

Mar 01, 3:00 PM
State presenting closing arguments

The hearing has resumed after a short break, with state attorneys now presenting their closing arguments.

DA Fani Willis is seated at the prosecution table, along with other prosecutors including Nathan Wade.

Mar 01, 2:46 PM
Willis enters courtroom

DA Fani Willis, who was not present for the early afternoon arguments, has entered the courtroom.

She entered while the court was on a short break and took a seat at the prosecutors’ table.

Court will resume following the break.

Mar 01, 2:41 PM
Attorney says DA has left ‘irreparable stain’ on case

Earlier, the defense attorney for ex-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark told the judge that the DA’s office has put an “irreparable stain” on the case and are now a “global laughingstock.”

“Think of the message that would be sent if they were not disqualified,” attorney Harry MacDougald told the judge. “If this is tolerated, we’ll get more of it. This office is a global laughingstock because of their conduct. They should be disqualified and the case should be dismissed.”

MacDougald argued that Willis has six different conflicts of interest in the case, “any one of which warrants disqualification.” He alleged the conflicts include a financial conflict, the speech at the church, and her “pattern of deceit and concealment,” among others.

“The problem here is that the DA cannot distinguish between her personal interests and ambitions on the one hand, and her public duties as a prosecutor on the other,” MacDougald said. “And apparently neither can anyone else in their office.”

Richard Rice, the attorney for Trump co-defendant Robert Cheeley, also argued that the volume of alleged texts and calls between Willis and Wade proves their romantic relationship began prior to Wade receiving his job with the DA office.

Mar 01, 2:35 PM
Attorney, citing Willis’ church speech, says she ‘needs to go’

DA Fani Willis engaged in a “calculated plan … to prejudice the defendants in this case in the minds of the jurors” when she defended herself and Nathan Wade during a speech at an Atlanta-area church in January, according to Craig Gillen, an attorney for defendant David Schafer.

During her remarks at the church, Willis repeatedly referred to herself as “flawed” and “imperfect” — but did not directly acknowledge her relationship with Wade.

Gillen argued that her “deflection” strategy at the church merits disqualification because it could improperly “inject” race into the case, which might compromise the impartiality of the prospective jury pool.

“She chose to play the race card and the God card … to deflect away from the allegations” in the motion for disqualification, Gillen said. “She chose to inject race into the minds of the listeners.”

Judge McAfee initially appeared skeptical of this argument, asking Gillen directly whether he could cite other instances in Georgia where a prosecutor had been dismissed based on their public commentary on a case.

“Thank goodness it doesn’t happen very often,” Gillen replied. “Sadly, it’s already happened here.”

“Prosecutors don’t act like this, lawyers don’t act like this … and they need to go,” Gillen said.

Mar 01, 2:25 PM
Trump attorney argues Willis’ testimony ‘not truthful’

Donald Trump’s attorney in his closing arguments told the judge that DA Fani Willis and prosecutor Nathan Wade were “not truthful” when they testified under oath about the timing of their relationship, urging the judge to use that to disqualify her from the case.

“I suggest to you that the testimony that Mr. Wade gave and Mrs. Willis gave … that that brought forth a true concern about their truthfulness,” said Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow.

Sadow told the judge he doesn’t need to find that Willis and Wade lied on the stand in order to disqualify them, but that he only needs to find that a “legitimate concern,” telling the judge, “That’s enough.”

The judge pressed Trump’s attorney on what the “limiting” area of that conclusion would be, noting the DA signs every single indictment her office brings.

“Does that mean she would be off every case?” the judge asked regarding Sadow’s allegations about her truthfulness. “How does that not spill over into every case the district attorney brings?”

Sadow pointed to the testimony of witnesses Robin Yeartie, and even the testimony of Terrance Bradley, saying Bradley did “everything he could possibly do to evade answering questions” because he knew if he did, the judge would be able to find “that both Willis and Wade lied” about when the relationship started.

McAfee asked Sadow what to make of Bradley’s testimony, noting if he takes the view that Bradley’s testimony was untruthful, “what’s left standing?”

“In these text messages, is it ever definitely shown how he knew this, and whether he did know it?” the judge asked, referring to Bradleys’ text messages, read in court, in which he previously told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant that Willis and Wade’s relationship began long before Wade was hired — before Bradley testified earlier this week that any past statements he made to that effect were “speculation on my part.”

Mar 01, 1:37 PM
Attorney for co-defendant Michael Roman presents arguments

John Merchant, co-counsel for Trump co-defendant Michael Roman and the husband of co-counsel Ashleigh Merchant, who initially brought the motion to disqualify DA Fani Willis, is presenting arguments for the defense.

Judge McAfee noted at the top of the hearing and before arguments began that the defense would have an hour and a half for arguments today.

The judge said that time will be divided up between each defendant.

Mar 01, 1:01 PM
Wade is in the courtroom as proceedings begin

Prosecutor Nathan Wade is in the courtroom as today’s hearing gets underway, but so far DA Fani Willis is not.

Judge Scott McAfee previously told the multiple defense attorneys he would give them one “time block” today for their closing arguments, and that they could “use the time how you think is effective.”

The state will also make a closing argument.

Mar 01, 10:17 AM
Judge to hear final arguments today on Willis’ disqualification

Judge Scott McAfee will hear what is expected to be final arguments this afternoon on motions to disqualify DA Fani Willis based on allegations that she benefited financially from a romantic relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Both Willis and Wade testified their relationship began after he was hired for the case in 2021, and that Willis reimbursed Wade in cash for vacations they took that were booked on his credit card.

Defense lawyers initially argued that Wade’s former law partner and divorce lawyer, Terrence Bradley, would contradict Wade and Willis’ claim on the stand about when the relationship began, but Bradley instead testified earlier this week that any past statements he made to that effect were “speculation on my part.”

Bradley, according to text messages read in court, previously told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant — who led the charge on the disqualification effort — that Willis and Wade’s relationship began long before he was hired, raising potential credibility issues for Judge McAfee to consider.

“Absolutely,” Bradley wrote Merchant in a text message read in court. “[The relationship] started when she left the DAS office and was judge in South Fulton.”

Judge McAfee had left open the possibility that he could “reopen” the evidentiary process after both the defense and state submitted motions containing new evidence, telling them they could both “proffer” their evidence at the hearing and that he would make a determination.

Trump’s attorney are seeking to admit data from Nathan Wade’s cellphone they say shows Wade in the area of Willis’ home dozens of times before he was hired, which the state disputes. The state is also seeking to enter an affidavit from a winery employee they say will back up Willis’ claims that she paid for her and Wade’s excursions in cash.

Feb 27, 4:54 PM
Hearing ends without smoking gun, arguments to be heard Friday

After more than two hours, Tuesday’s hearing concluded without providing any revelatory information about the timeline of the romantic relationship between Fulton County prosecutor Nathan Wade and DA Fani Willis, which the defense contends started before Wade was hired, in contrast to what both Wade and Willis have testified.

Judge Scott McAfee said that he plans to hear arguments from the parties on Friday about the case for Willis’ disqualification so he can try to make a ruling.

“At this point, I need to start hearing the arguments and the law and what we’ve heard so far. If I think I’m able to reach a ruling based on that, I will,” McAfee said.

He added that the parties could push to continue presenting evidence if needed.

“The intention is that we’re still sticking with the argument,” McAfee said. “But the parties are free to address some of these issues that have been brought up, post-hearing, if they’d like to.”

Feb 27, 4:30 PM
State declines to question Bradley

Following a break, the state declined to question prosecutor Nathan Wade’s former attorney Terrence Bradley after the defense wrapped up their questioning.

Bradley has stepped down from the stand after approximately two hours of testimony.

The parties are now debating Bradley’s text messages being entered as evidence.

The state is claiming that Bradley did not authenticate the entire text message exchange, and has asked the judge to parse through it to determine its relevance to the case.

Feb 27, 3:07 PM
Trump attorney now questioning Bradley

Former President Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow is now questioning Nathan Wade’s former law partner Terrance Bradley.

Sadow, who is not present in the courtroom, is questioning Bradley over Zoom.

Feb 27, 2:40 PM
Bradley says he does ‘not have the date’ when relationship started

Ashleigh Merchant, the attorney for Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, struggled as she began in her direct examination of Wade’s ex-attorney Terrence Bradley as the proceedings quickly got bogged down in objections over privilege.

“A lot of this is based on gossip and innuendo … and privileged information,” the state’s attorney said while objecting to Merchant’s questioning.

The back-and-forth already appears to be frustrating Judge Scott McAfee, who threatened to limit the testimony.

“Ms. Merchant, you don’t have much more to pull on here,” McAfee said.

“He doesn’t remember much of anything right now, and so I’m trying to create a timeline to hopefully piece this together,” Merchant responded regarding Bradley.

While Merchant attempted to ask Bradley about past text messages exchanged — which have not been entered into evidence — Judge McAfee limited the testimony.

Bradley himself said he could not recall when Willis and Wade began their romantic relationship.

“I can’t give you a date if you’re asking for a date,” Bradley said. “If you’re asking me how did I get the knowledge, it would have come directly from a client.”

“At this time, I am telling you that I do not have the date,” Bradley responded when Merchant pushed on the question.

Feb 27, 2:20 PM
Judge says attorney-client privilege wasn’t established

Judge Scott McAfee began the hearing by confirming that both Nathan Wade and his former law partner Terrence Bradley did not meet the burden to establish attorney-client privilege “as it relates to Mr. Bradley’s knowledge of any relationship that existed between Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade.”

“I didn’t see any other choice but to allow the parties to have an opportunity to explore that topic with him,” McAfee said regarding Bradley returning to testify.

Bradley then took the stand.

Feb 27, 2:10 PM
Hearing is underway

Tuesday’s hearing in Fulton County is underway, with special prosecutor Nathan Wade’s former law partner and divorce attorney, Terrence Bradley, expected back on the witness stand.

Wade is present in the courtroom but so far there is no sign of DA Fani Willis. The attorney for Michael Roman, Ashleigh Merchant, is also in court today, and former President Donald Trump’s attorney is appearing over Zoom.

For the state, Adam Abbate, attorney for the DA’s office, is present.

Feb 27, 12:39 PM
Wade’s former attorney to retake the stand this afternoon

Prosecutor Nathan Wade’s former law partner and divorce attorney, Terrence Bradley, will take retake the stand at a hearing this afternoon, after Judge McAfee ruled that Bradley must return to the witness stand to testify on topics not covered by attorney-client privilege.

During the hearing two weeks ago, Bradley cited attorney-client privilege in declining to answer many of the defense’s questions about Wade and Willis’ relationship. Attorneys for the defense have claimed Bradley has evidence that Wade and Willis’ romantic relationship began before Willis hired Wade in November 2021, which would contradict Willis and Wade’s sworn testimony that their relationship began in 2022 and ended in the summer of 2023.

Judge McAfee said during the earlier hearing that he was “left wondering” about whether Bradley had “been properly interpreting privilege.”

Feb 16, 4:43 PM
Court adjourns as judge signals it will resume late next week or week after

Court adjourned for the day as the judge signaled court will resume late next week or the following week.

Judge McAfee adjourned the court after denying the state’s request to call a client of Nathan Wade and Terrence Bradley’s law firm who would testify that Bradley allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Feb 16, 4:32 PM
Judge suspends Terrence Bradley’s testimony

Terrence Bradley’s testimony has abruptly ended for the day on the request of Judge McAfee, who indicated he now doubts whether Bradley “has been properly interpreting privilege this entire time.”

The stunning development came after Bradley, when questioned by the state, testified about an allegation of sexual assault against him by an employee at the firm he shared with prosecutor Nathan Wade.

That testimony prompted defense lawyers to argue that if the sexual assault allegation is not covered by attorney-client privilege, neither should Bradley’s conversations with Wade about Wade’s relationship with DA Fani Willis.

“He lied,” said prosecutor Anna Cross.

The judge reiterated the need to speak to Bradley in private and suggested he could reopen evidence if he uncovers anything relevant.

He asked Bradley’s lawyer if his client is still in the courthouse and if so to go to the jury room for the private meeting.

Feb 16, 4:22 PM
Judge suspends Terrence Bradley’s testimony

Terrence Bradley’s testimony has abruptly ended for the day on the request of Judge McAfee, who indicated he now doubts whether Bradley “has been properly interpreting privilege this entire time.”

The stunning development came after Bradley, when questioned by the state, testified about an allegation of sexual assault against him by an employee at the firm he shared with prosecutor Nathan Wade.

That testimony prompted defense lawyers to argue that if the sexual assault allegation is not covered by attorney-client privilege, neither should Bradley’s conversations with Wade about Wade’s relationship with DA Fani Willis.

“He lied,” said prosecutor Anna Cross.

The judge reiterated the need to speak to Bradley in private – and suggested he could reopen evidence if he uncovers anything relevant.

Feb 16, 4:20 PM
Judge expresses frustration at questioning of witness

Testimony from one of the defense’s key witnesses appears to be falling short as the judge seems to grow frustrated with repeated lines of questioning.

“I haven’t really heard a point in a while,” the judge told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant amid a prolonged questioning of Nathan Wade’s former law partner, Terrance Bradley, about his contract with the DA’s office. “Can we get along to something or we’re gonna have to wrap it up.”

The defense took a hit when the judge ruled earlier against their crime-fraud exception argument that would have compelled Bradley to testify about text messages with Merchant about Wade’s relationship with DA Fani Willis – which Trump’s attorney claimed could show Wade perjured himself on the stand about when that relationship started.

But with the judge blocking that testimony for now, instead, the defense has been focused on long-winding questions about Bradley’s legal contracts and about whether or not he had dinner with Wade or Willis – seemingly not what the defense had hoped would take up the witnesses’ testimony.

At one point, another defense attorney argued to the court that adultery would fall under the crime-fraud exception – but the judge, seemingly growing annoyed, quickly shot it down.

Bradley was first called earlier this morning after the state declined to question Willis but was at a doctor’s appointment. A person with Bradley told ABC News he attended the doctor’s appointment because he figured Willis’s testimony would take up the morning.

The state has forcefully worked all day to invoke privilege to block aspects of Bradley’s testimony.

Feb 16, 3:07 PM
Witness ‘sure’ Wade told him about ‘socializing’ with Willis prior to Nov. 2021

Terrence Bradley testified that he is “sure” prosecutor Nathan Wade told Bradley about “socializing” with DA Fani Willis prior to November 2021.

“Did Mr. Wade ever tell you prior to November 1 of 2021 that he had socialized or gone out to eat with Miss Willis in anything other than a professional setting?” asked Donald Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow.

“I’m sure he did,” Bradley replied.

Before that, Bradley also testified that he couldn’t recall if Wade and Willis met privately in Wade’s office.

“Did Miss Willis meet privately with Mr. Wade in his office that you observed?” Sadow asked.

“I can’t recall,” Bradley replied.

Feb 16, 2:45 PM
Judge says he will review text messages after hearing

Judge McAfee said Friday he would review Terrance Bradley’s text messages with prosecutor Nathan Wade after the hearing.

McAfee indicated the review would happen on-camera but remain sealed unless he’s “ever directed otherwise.”

“In order to preserve the record, at the conclusion of the hearing, I think I can go on camera with Mr. Chopra and Mr. Bradley and we can put in a sealed filing exactly what the extent of those communications were,” he said.

“Those [would] remain sealed until sometime if we’re ever directed otherwise,” the judge said.

Feb 16, 2:13 PM
Trump attorney accuses Nathan Wade of perjury

Trump attorney Steve Sadow accused prosecutor Nathan Wade of perjury on the witness stand, related to when his relationship began with DA Fani Willis.

“Mr. Wade committed perjury on the witness stand,” Sadow said standing in court, continuing his argument for why Terrance Bradley’s testimony regarding his texts and knowledge of Wade and Fani Willis’ relationship.

Bradley has testified that he did not have personal knowledge of the relationship between Wade and Willis. But the defense is arguing the texts would show otherwise.

“A lawyer shall not knowingly failed to disclose and material fact to a tribunal. When disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act,” Sadow said.

Feb 16, 2:08 PM
Judge rules that witness’ texts do not need to be disclosed

Judge Scott McAfee rejected the defense’s insistence that Terrance Bradley be forced to testify about communications he had with Nathan Wade.

“I don’t think the crime fraud exception covers this,” he said, referring to the legal statute defense lawyers were pushing to force Bradley to disclose his conversations with Wade.

“It does not appear that there’s any evidence that the client ever waived [his attorney-client privilege] and allowed that information to be conveyed to you,” he added later, addressing Mike Roman’s lawyer Ashleigh Merchant.

Feb 16, 1:50 PM
Witness says he has ‘no knowledge’ of when Willis-Wade relationship began

After a long back and forth, Terrence Bradley testified that he does not have any personal knowledge of when DA Fani Willis and prosecutor Nathan Wade began their romantic relationship.

“Any knowledge of Nathan Wade and Fani Willis’s romantic relationship beginning while they were both serving as judges– is any knowledge that you have from your own personal knowledge or something that was told to you in furtherance of legal advice?” asked attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

“I have no personal knowledge of when it actually happened,” Bradley replied.

Feb 16, 1:45 PM
State working to block testimony from Wade associate Terrance Bradley

The state is forcefully working to block testimony from Nathan Wade’s law partner Terrance Bradley regarding text exchanges he had with defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant in September 2023.

The judge is so far allowing the defense to continue with its questioning of the texts.

At one point, Merchant handed her phone to the state to look at the texts after the state claimed they weren’t sure if the texts were being presented in full.

“These exchanges are just two lawyers gossiping about information,” the state said, while holding Merchant’s phone. “And I’m concerned about it coming into the record in this way.”

The state told the court that they object to the defense even asking questions about the texts because if they were read it would be “inflammatory.”

Feb 16, 1:19 PM
Wade associate called to the stand after failing to appear earlier

The defense called prosecutor Nathan Wade’s law partner Terrance Bradley to the stand as the hearing resumed Friday afternoon after a recess.

Bradley was called earlier but did not appear in court. Judge McAfee threatened to hold the witness in violation of a subpoena for his failure to appear. His attorney said he was at a doctor’s appointment.

The state is working to invoke privilege over his testimony.

Feb 16, 12:11 PM
Willis’ father testifies he’s rarely seen her due to threats

DA Fani Willis’ father testified more about the fallout the Willis family has faced in light of the ongoing threats she has faced over her work — including how it has forced Willis to limit her contact with her father.

Willis’ father, John Floyd, said “I’ve only seen my daughter — and this is very hard for me to say – but during the period my daughter left, I’ve only seen my daughter 13 times because I can’t.”

Floyd testified that even when he’s seen his daughter, they’ve kept their time together short.

“And we’ve never seen each other for more than maybe three hours because of, you know, the nightmare threats,” he said.

Court recessed for a one-hour break after Floyd stepped down from the stand.

Feb 16, 12:05 PM
Willis’ use of cash a ‘Black thing,’ father testifies

DA Fani Willis on Thursday repeatedly testified that when prosecutor Nathan Wade booked their travel or paid for meals, she would repay him with large amounts of cash — an arrangement that appeared to draw skepticism from defense counsel.

On the stand today, Willis’ father, John Floyd, explained his daughter’s use of cash as “a Black thing.”

“I was trained — and most black folks — they hide cash, or they keep cash,” Floyd said. “I’ve told my daughter: ‘You keep six months’ worth of cash — always.”

“And as a matter of fact, I gave my daughter her first cash box and told her always keep some cash,” he testified.

Feb 16, 11:58 AM
Willis’ father testifies he didn’t meet Wade until 2023

DA Fani Willis’ father, John Floyd, testified that he did not meet prosecutor Nathan Wade until 2023.

“Did you ever meet Mr. Wade in the year 2019?” Michael Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant asked Floyd.

“Absolutely not,” Floyd replied.

“You ever seen Mr. Wade at Miss Willis [at the] Fulton County house in the year 2021?” Merchant asked.

“Never,” Floyd said.

Feb 16, 11:54 AM
Willis’ father describes ‘nightmare threats against her and me’

Fani Willis’ father, John Floyd, described in detail the extent of the threats and abuse his daughter faced as her investigation into the former president ramped up, which eventually prompted her to leave her home.

“There have been so many death threats,” he said. “And they said they were going to blow up the house, they were going to kill her, they were going to kill me, they were going to kill my grandchildren — I mean, on and on and on.”

Floyd said he lived with his daughter around the time, and that at one point the police sent an officer with a dog to sniff for bombs multiple times each day.

“Did you fear for her safety?” a state attorney asked.

“Absolutely,” Floyd replied.

Floyd said that after Willis left the home, he lived there himself until December of 2022 — when he said the “nightmare threats made against her and me” made the home “uninhabitable.”

“I would have to walk around that house looking out of every window” to ensure no intruders were approaching the home, Floyd said.

Feb 16, 11:48 AM
Ex-governor turned down role before it was offered to Wade

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes testified that early in DA Fani Willis’ election interference probe, he was asked by Willis about taking the special prosecutor role in the investigation, but that he turned it down.

The former governor initially said he didn’t remember the day when that meeting occurred.

But after stepping off the stand, about 10 minutes later Barnes walked back into the courtroom with his phone in his hand and calendar app pulled up, to tell the court the date he had found.

He said that the meeting where he turned down the special prosecutor position was on Oct 26, 2021 — which would have been a few days before Nathan Wade was contracted for the position on Nov. 1, 2021.

Feb 16, 11:34 AM
Judge slams Wade associate for not appearing

A visibly irritated Judge McAfee threatened to hold a potential witness in violation of a subpoena for his failure to appear at the hearing today.

Terrence Bradley, a former associate of and lawyer for Nathan Wade, took the stand on Thursday and largely declined to answer questions, citing attorney-client privilege. The state intended to call Bradley back to the stand on Friday, but his attorney said he was at a doctor’s appointment.

Bradley’s failure to appear caused a roughly 90-minute delay before proceedings resumed.

“The notice in this hearing indicated it would last at least two days,” McAfee said. “So right now, I think he’s in violation of a subpoena.”

An attorney for Bradley said he would encourage his client to return to court as quickly as possible to resume testimony this afternoon.

DA Fani Willis’ father is now on the stand.

Feb 16, 11:02 AM
State calls former Georgia governor as witness

Court is now back in session following a break.

The state has called former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes to the stand.

Barnes is the first witness in the state’s case, followed by Willis’ father, John Floyd III.

Feb 16, 10:19 AM
State was ‘satisfied’ with Willis’ testimony, source says

A source familiar with the state’s decision-making process tells ABC News the state did not recall DA Fani Willis to the stand because they were ultimately “satisfied” with her testimony Thursday.

The source said they felt Willis “addressed everything,” and that they could stand on that testimony moving forward.

“Why reopen it?” the source said.

As a result of the state deciding not to cross-examine Willis, the defense now won’t have a chance to question her again.

Feb 16, 9:26 AM
Former associate of Wade expected to testify next

Less than 10 minutes after the hearing started, the court is in recess until Judge McAfee hears from both parties.

Terrance Bradley, a former business associate of Nathan Wade, is expected to testify but he is not in court yet.

Bradley briefly testified Thursday but the issue of attorney-client privilege came up and he was dismissed.

Attorneys are currently going over the questions for Bradley that won’t violate privilege.

Feb 16, 9:19 AM
Willis does not take stand on Day 2 of hearing

After a dramatic and heated Day 1, DA Fani Willis is not taking the stand for Day 2 of the hearing.

The state told the court they have no further questions for the district attorney.

Multiple attorneys for defendants in the case, including Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow and Michael Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant, are in the courtroom, but Willis is not present.

Judge Scott McAfee said his goal is to finish up the evidentiary hearing today.

Feb 15, 5:35 PM
Court adjourns, Willis will be back on stand Friday

DA Fani Willis stepped off the stand for the day following more than two hours of highly charged testimony.

The DA is scheduled to be back on the stand tomorrow morning for the hearing’s second day.

Judge McAfee reviewed other motions for Day 2, then adjourned the hearing until Friday.

Willis did not respond to questions from ABC News after leaving the courtroom.

Feb 15, 5:21 PM
Willis questioned by lawyers for other co-defendants

After Trump attorney Steve Sadow wrapped up his questioning of DA Fani Willis, the attorneys for other co-defendants got their chance — but the judge appeared to grow frustrated as defense attorneys attempted to find new lines of questioning.

Allyn Stockton, representing co-defendant Rudy Giuliani, asked Willis about contracts given to Wade’s law partners.

“Did Wade’s law partners, Bradley and Campbell, also get contracts with the DA’s office?” Stockton asked.

“Yes but only for a short time after I first became DA. Then I let them go when my office was properly staffed,” she replied.

Harry MacDougald, representing co-defendant Jeffrey Clark, briefly questioned Willis about her financial disclosure form before the judge told him to sit down.

“I don’t believe she answered that question, Your Honor,” MacDougald said.

“She answered as to specific individual gifts,” Judge McAfee, appearing more frustrated, responded. “And you’re not listening to my answer either. So we’re done.”

Feb 15, 4:56 PM
Willis says she didn’t consider relationship romantic before hiring

Pressed further by Trump attorney Steve Sadow, DA Fani Willis testified regarding prosecutor Nathan Wade that she did “not consider our relationship to have become romantic until 2022.”

“I don’t consider my relationship to be romantic with him before that,” she said of Wade’s hiring.

Sadow suggested that Wade and Willis have not been truthful about the timing.

When he asked Willis who she told about the relationship, Sadow suggested her “failure” to notify other members of team suggests that the relationship “was not as its been characterized to the court” and “that it started earlier than what they say.”

Willis said her and Wade were friends since at least 2020.

“I want to be clear, because my credibility is being evaluated,” she said.

Feb 15, 4:47 PM
Willis testifies early relationship with Wade wasn’t romantic

DA Fani Willis was pressed repeatedly by Trump attorney Steve Sadow about whether Willis had a romantic relationship with Wade prior to November 2021.

“I’m asking you whether or not prior to Nov. 1 of 2021, there was a romantic relationship with Mr. Wade?” Sadow asked.

“I didn’t consider my relationship with him to be romantic before that,” Willis said.

Sadow asked Willis whether Wade visited the condo leased by her friend Robin Yeartie. Willis previously said she took over Yeartie’s lease at one point and paid her rent.

“Would you give us an approximation of how many times Mr. Wade visited you at the condo between the time you moved in and prior to November 2020?” Sadow asked.

“I don’t think often, but I don’t — I don’t want to speculate,” Willis replied.

Feb 15, 4:35 PM
Trump attorney questions Willis in tense exchange

Former President Trump’s attorney Steven Sadow is now questioning Fani Willis on the stand.

As Sadow stepped up to question her, he started with a veiled dig at the DA.

“I’m going to try to ask you questions that you can actually answer without having to explain, OK?” Sadow said.

“Yes, sir. My comprehension skills are pretty good. So we should do all right,” Willis replied.

“We shall soon see,” Sadow said.

Sadow began questioning Willis about her condo, which Wade testified earlier that he visited before being hired.

At one point when Sadow raised his voice, Willis said, “You don’t have to yell at me.”

Feb 15, 4:14 PM
Judge urges decorum after heated moment

Following a brief recess, the hearing resumed with Judge Scott McAfee urging decorum following the shouting match.

“I advise everyone — this being a room mostly full of lawyers — I urge everyone to keep those principals in line and not talk over each other,” the judge told the court.

But as Willis’ heated testimony continued, the judge threatened to strike Willis’s testimony.

“I’m going to have to caution you — you have to listen to the questions asked, and if this happens again and again, I’m going to have no choice but to strike your testimony,” the judge told the DA.

Feb 15, 4:02 PM
‘You lied,” Willis tells defense attorney who filed allegations

DA Fani Willis heatedly told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant “You lied” just before a shouting match broke out.

“You’re confused. You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial ” Willis said forcefully from the stand.

Speaking earlier about prosecutor Nathan Wade, Willis said she and Wade had a “tough conversation” in August after their relationship ended, but that her respect for him has grown “over the seven weeks of these attacks.”

That prompted an objection from Trump attorney Steve Sadow.

Willis than answered by saying “You lied” to Merchant, and a shouting match ensued between Sadow, Merchant, Willis and the judge.

The court then went into a brief recess.

Feb 15, 3:52 PM
Willis testifies that she paid for trips in cash

DA Fani Willis pointedly testified that she paid prosecutor Nathan Wade for the cruise they took and Aruba trip they went on — in cash — before they even went.

“Did you pay him back? For the cruise and for Aruba?“ asked defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

“Yeah, I gave him his money before we ever went on that trip,” Willis replied.

“And so when you got cash to pay him back on these trips, did you go to the ATM?” asked Merchant.

“No,” said Willis.

“So the cash that you would pay him, you wouldn’t get it out of the bank?” Merchant asked.

“I have money in my house,” Willis replied. “For many, many years I have kept money in my house.”

“I just have cash in my house,” Willis continued. “I don’t have as much today as I would normally have, but I’m building back up now.”

Willis testified that her father says, “As a woman you should always … you should have at least six months in cash at your house at all time.”

“I don’t know why this old black man feels like that. But he does,” she said.

Feb 15, 3:41 PM
Willis says she and witness haven’t had ‘consistent friendship’

DA Fani Willis, in heated testimony, said that Robin Yeartie, who testified earlier, betrayed her friendship and that both of them have not retained a “consistent friendship.”

“There’s a saying, ‘No good deed goes unpunished,'” Willis said. “And I think that she betrayed our friendship.”

“I ran into her about 10 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia,” Willis said of Yeartie. “So we didn’t talk throughout that time period. I didn’t see her. I didn’t even know where she was.”

“And so yes, I have known her probably since 1990, 1991, but we have not maintained a consistent relationship that whole time,” Willis added.

Earlier, Yeartie testified that Willis told her about the romantic relationship with Wade.

Yeartie said she saw them “hugging, kissing, just affection.”

Willis said at one point said she took over Yeartie’s lease and would pay her rent in cash or by Cash App.

Feb 15, 3:34 PM
Willis testifies she and Wade began dating in 2022

DA Fain Willis, on the stand, testified that she and prosecutor Nathan Wade began dating in 2022 — rebutting an earlier witness who testified the relationship began before Wade was hired.

Speaking about a trip that she and Wade took in April 2022, Willis testified they began dating “right around then.”

“When did you start dating?” defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant asked.

“It was right ’round then,” Willis responded.

“April 2022?” Merchant asked.

“Around then,” Willis said.

Feb 15, 3:20 PM
Willis, on the stand, slams accusations and media coverage

DA Fani Willis began her testimony by slamming the allegations against her, as well as co-defendant Mike Roman’s attorney, and the news media for its coverage.

“I’ve been very anxious to have this conversation with you today,” Willis said almost immediately. She also said, “I’ve been in the office pacing.”

Willis plainly accused Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant of lying, and assailed the media.

“It seems today, a lawyer writes a lie and then it’s printed to all the world to see,” Willis said.

Willis’ remarks drew objection from Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow.

“I object to the speech making,” Sadow said, but Willis kept going.

“It’s highly offensive when someone lies on you,” Willis said.

Feb 15, 3:06 PM
Willis walks in unannounced, will take stand

As attorneys were arguing over DA Fani Willis’ testimony, Willis surprised the courtroom by walking in to the courtroom unannounced, and prosecutors withdrew their motion to quash the subpoena for her testimony.

The DA is now expected to take the stand.

Feb 15, 2:55 PM
Wade testified his income decreased with case

Under questioning from an attorney with the DA’s office, prosecutor Nathan Wade testified that his income decreased after signing on to work with Fulton County, and that he had to work “so many hours” that he couldn’t get paid for.

“In 2022, your estimated monthly income at that time was $14,000 a month?” special prosecutor Anna Cross asked.

“Yes,” Wade replied.

“In 2023, what did that number come to?” asked Cross.

“$9,500,” Wade said.

When asked about the hours Wade worked that he didn’t get paid for due to a cap, because of a cap, Wade said there were “so many hours” that he worked that he couldn’t get paid for.

“This invoice makes me cry,” Wade said. “There’s so many hours here that I worked that I couldn’t I couldn’t get paid for.”

“This is not the type of job that you can walk away from just because you’re not getting paid for it,” Wade said.

Feb 15, 2:47 PM
Wade asked about visiting Willis’ condo

Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow asked Wade about visiting Willis’ Atlanta-area condo before November 2021, which would have been prior to his getting a contract with the DA office.

“Did you and Ms. Willis go to the Hapeville condo prior to Nov. 1, 2021?” Sadow asked.

“Yes,” said Wade, who said he “maybe went to talk about a document that I received.”

Sadow then asked Wade if phone records showed Wade made calls from Willis’ condo prior to November 2021 ,would they be wrong.

“Yes sir,” Wade replied.

Asked what other reasons phone records would show him making calls from that area if they were not made from Willis’ apartment, Wade pointed to the airport near Hapeville.

Feb 15, 2:19 PM
Wade testifies divorce timing was a coincidence

Donald Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow asked Nathan Wade why he filed his divorce after being hired by Fulton County.

“Can you answer the question why you waited until Nov. 2, the day after you were hired by Miss Willis. to file for divorce?” asked Sadow.

“I can’t,” Wade replied.

Wade explained that because his ex-wife had relocated to Texas, he was only able to serve her the divorce papers when she returned to Georgia.

“It was purely by coincidence that I filed the day after the contract with the DA’s office,” Wade said.

Feb 15, 2:16 PM
Wade pressed on why Willis reimbursed trip costs in cash

In a stern line of questioning, Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow challenged prosecutor Nathan Wade on why DA Fani Willis would reimburse him in cash for travel and trips.

“You would have received thousands of dollars in cash from Miss Willis, correct?” Sadow asked.

“Yes, sir,” replied Wade.

Trump’s attorney then asked Wade if he “knew the source of the cash” – which Wade said he did not, claiming it was “out of her pocketbook.”

Sadow followed up, wondering why Willis’ form of repayment didn’t stand out to Wade.

“The whole time that you she was paying you in cash, you never said, ‘Hey, why do you have this amount of cash?'” Sadow asked.

Wade answered that in his law practice, “people come into my law firm all the time with cash” and that he “never questioned where they got it.”

Sadow shot back, saying, “But we’re talking not about people that come into your law firm — we’re talking about the district attorney of Fulton County, who I’m assuming receives a paycheck. She doesn’t get paid in cash.”

Wade also testified that he never saw any records of Willis making cash withdrawals.

Feb 15, 2:09 PM
Wade testifies relationship with Willis ended last year

Facing questions from former President Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow for the first time, prosecutor Nathan Wade testified that his relationship with Willis ended in the summer of 2023.

“I would say June maybe,” Nathan said of the timing.

Sadow and Wade then went through an awkward line of questioning regarding whether Wade had a “personal” relationship after the breakup.

“Are you asking me if I had intercourse with the district attorney?” Wade asked bluntly.

“I was trying not to,” Sadow responded. Wade eventually answered no.

Sadow also peppered Wade with questions about who knew about the relationship.

“If it was a legitimate relationship, is there any reason this relationship was kept secret or private?” he asked.

“We weren’t trying to keep anything secret, Mr. Sadow,” Wade said later.

Feb 15, 2:04 PM
Defense questions Wade on his contract with Fulton County

Craig Gillen, the attorney for Trump co-defendant David Shafer, pressed Nathan Wade on his contract with Fulton County, how much he was paid, and the timeline of his personal relationship with DA Fani Willis.

“During the course of romantic relations, yes or no — you signed [the] extension on November the 15th, 2022?” Gillen asked, referring to Wade’s contract with Fulton County.

“The answer to that question is yes,” Wade replied.

“Ater the Aruba trip, you get re-upped with a new contract?” Gillen asked.

“Correct,” replied Wade.

Asked by Gillen about an invoice that billed Fulton County for “24 hours of work in one day,” Wade said the date reflects when he completed the task of preparing the election case for pretrial.

“Tell the court what you billed for on November 5, 2021,” Gillen said.

“On November the 5th, I completed the task of preparing the cases for pretrial,” Wade said. “That’s the date I completed…” Wade continued, before being interrupted by Gillen, who said, “Just read it.”

Feb 15, 1:43 PM
Wade questioned if he had ‘sexual relations’ with Willis

Prosecutor Nathan Wade was questioned by defense counsel regarding his relationship with DA Fani Willis and specifically asked if he had “sexual relations” with her.

He was specially questioned by Craig Gillen, the attorney for Trump co-defendant David Shafer, about answers he gave on a interrogatory related to Wade’s divorce, when Wade was asked if he had any sexual relations with a woman during his marriage and separation to his now-ex-wife.

“Let’s just get down to it,” Gillen asked Wade. “Did you or did you not, by May the 30th, 2023, have had sexual relations with Miss Willis, yes or no?”

“Yes,” Wade replied.

Wade was then asked why he answered “none” on the interrogatory related to the divorce.

“I didn’t answer ‘no’ to the question you just asked,” Wade said. “I answered ‘no’ to the interrogatory question.”

Wade was then pressed on the cash payments he earlier testified that Willis made to him to reimburse him for travel costs.

“You don’t have a single solitary deposit slip to corroborate or support any of your allegations that you were paid by Ms. Willis in cash, sir? Not a single, solitary one?” Gillen asked.

“Not a single one,” Wade replied.

Feb 15, 12:54 PM
Wade testifies he never discussed relationship publicly

Prosecutor Nathan Wade testified that he never talked about his romantic relationship with DA Fani Willis in social settings, after a witness earlier testified that she had observed the relationship.

“Did you discuss your personal relationship, your private personal romantic relationship, with Miss Willis in social settings?” defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant asked Wade.

“No, ma’am,” Wade replied.

Merchant then asked if Wade ever discussed his relationship with Willis while around Robin Yeartie, the friend of Willis who testified earlier that Wade and Willis’ relationship began prior to the start of the Trump election interference case.

Wade testified that he did not.

Wade said he and Willis are “private people” and said their relationship “wasn’t a secret. It was just private. So not at all … I wouldn’t have discussed my relationship with Miss Yeartie or anyone else.”

Feb 15, 12:19 PM
Wade testifies Willis often paid him back for their travels

Addressing allegations that he paid for DA Fani Willis’ travel when the two of them traveled together, prosecutor Nathan Wade testified that Willis often paid him back in cash or spent money on him in other ways so that expenses roughly “balanced out,” insisting that Willis “carries her own weight.”

“All of the vacations she took, she paid you cash?” defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant asked.

“Yes ma’am,” Wade said.

The defense has accused Willis of improperly benefiting financially from the relationship, by paying Wade a salary that was then used to pay for their travels together.

Speaking more broadly, Wade insisted that throughout their entire relationship, Willis paid her own way, painting it as character trait of hers.

“If you’ve ever spent any time with Mrs. Willis you understand she’s a very independent proud woman, so she’s going to insist that she carries her own weight,” he testified.

“It actually was a point of contention between the two of us,” Wade said. “She was going to pay her own way.”

Wade went through the various trips booked on his credit card, one by one, including trips to Napa Valley and Belize. In one instance, Wade testified it was actually Willis who paid for the “entire trip” — despite the fact that it was on his credit card.

On the Napa trip, Wade testified that Willis paid for the excursions, “so the expenses sort of balances out.” He said it was like any relationship: “In a relationship, you don’t — particularly men — you don’t go asking back,” Wade said. “You’re not keeping a ledger.”

Feb 15, 11:45 AM
Wade testifies his relationship with Willis began in 2022

Prosecutor Nathan Wade, refuting earlier testimony claiming his relationship with DA Fani Willis started before she hired him on the election interference case case in November 2021, testified that the relationship started in 2022.

“When did your romantic relationship with Mrs. Willis begin?” defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant asked him.

“2022,” Wade replied.

“When?” Merchant pressed.

“Early 2022,” Wade responded.

“What’s early?,” Merchant asked.

“Around March,” Wade said.

Wade was then asked about conversations he and Willis had around their first meeting in 2019. He testified that they spoke two or three times in 2019.

“She felt comfortable calling for advice,” he testified.

He said the calls progressed and they spoke more frequently. He testified that in 2021, the discussions between him and Willis became “frequent.”

Feb 15, 11:29 AM
Wade testifies he’s ‘not recalling’ traveling with Willis in 2021

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade, asked if he traveled with DA Fani Willis around the time prior to the Trump election interference case being launched, stated that he’s “not recalling” that after being pushed to answer “yes” or “no.”

When asked by the defense if he traveled with Willis in 2023 or 2022, Wade said he did — but he gave a different answer when asked about 2021.

“Did you travel with her in 2021?” defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant asked.

“I’m not recalling any travel in 2021,” Wade replied.

“It’s not yes or no, you just don’t remember?” Merchant pressed.

An attorney for the DA said during Merchant’s questioning, “We’re going pretty far field into divorce matters.” But the judge let questioning continue.

Feb 15, 11:05 AM
Nathan Wade takes the stand

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade is now on the stand.

Fulton County prosecutors made a motion to quash the subpoena for Wade to testify, but Judge Scott McAfee rejected the motion, saying the “evidence in front of the court at the moment” is that a witness testified that the relationship predated his hiring, which contradicts their court filing.

“I don’t see a way around the relevance of his testimony,” said the judge.

Feb 15, 11:00 AM
Witness testifies Willis told her of relationship with Wade

Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow drilled down into the testimony from Former DA office employee Robin Yeartie that Willis told her repeatedly that she and Wade were in a relationship before he was hired in 2021.

“Told you that in the year of 2020?” Sadow asked.

“Yes,” Yeartie said.

“In the year of 2021?” Sadow asked.

“Yes,” Yeartie said.

“Are you certain that Mrs. Willis told you about the romantic relationship with Mr. Wade prior to November 1 of 2021?, Sadow asked.

“Yes,” Yeartie said.

Yeartie also testified she saw them “hugging, kissing, just affection.”

All before he was hired?

“Yes,” Yeartie said.

Feb 15, 10:48 AM
Former employee testifies that Willis, Wade were dating earlier

Former DA office employee Robin Yeartie testified that Fani Willis and Nathan Wade began dating prior to the Trump election interference case — contradicting the claim in the state’s court filing that the relationship started after Wade was hired.

“You know their personal relationship began shortly after” they met at a conference in October 2019, attorney Merchant asked the witness.

The witness, who said she was a old friend of Willis, replied, “Yes.”

Yeartie is testifying via Zoom after she didn’t appear in the courtroom.

The state is objecting to questions from the defense seemingly at every chance they can, which is significantly slowing down the proceedings. The judge has remained patient, but Michael Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant appears to be growing frustrated with the state’s strategy.

Feb 15, 10:34 AM
Wade associate invokes attorney-client privilege

Terrance Bradley, a former law partner of Nathan Wade, is declining to answer questions about Fani Willis and Wade’s relationship, citing attorney-client privilege.

“I was advised by the bar … I cannot reveal anything that I saw or learned,” Bradley said. “I am here because I also have a law license and I’m not trying to lose that.”

The judge pushed back, saying, “That’s a broader representation of attorney-client privilege than I’ve ever heard.”

The debate has drawn the first comments from Donald Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow, who said of Bradley’s view of attorney-client privilege, “There is no such case law.”

Sadow even suggested Bradley be held in contempt if he continues to refuse to answer questions.

Feb 15, 10:07 AM
Associate of Wade’s takes the stand

Michael Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant called her first witness in the effort to disqualify DA Fani Willis — a former DA office employee named Robin Yeartie, who Merchant says has firsthand knowledge that Wade and Willis’ relationship began before he was hired, in contradiction to Wade’s sworn affidavit — but Yeartie is not in court yet.

As a result, a new first witness has taken the stand: Terrence Bradley, a former business associate of prosecutor Nathan Wade who represented him in his divorce case.

“It wasn’t my choice,” Bradley said of having to testify today.

The state has objected to Bradley’s testimony, saying it is protected by attorney-client privilege. But Roman’s team says the information is not related to his representation of Wade in the divorce matter.

Feb 15, 9:39 AM
Hearing is underway

The evidentiary hearing is underway in front of a packed courtroom.

DA Fani Willis has not yet entered the courtroom, but special prosecutor Nathan Wade is present, along with multiple attorneys for defendants in the DA’s election interference case, including Trump attorney Steve Sadow and Mike Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

Two of Trump’s co-defendants in the case, Harrison Floyd and David Shaffer, are also in attendance.

Feb 15, 9:24 AM
Trump attending NYC hearing

Former President Trump’s attorney has arrived for the Fulton County proceedings, but his client won’t be attending the hearing.

Instead, Trump is attending a hearing in his criminal hush money case in New York.

The former president is not required to be at either of the two hearings taking place today.

Feb 15, 8:45 AM
Attorneys have clashed in court filings

The district attorney’s office and attorneys for the defendants have traded accusations in a series of court filings leading up to Thursday’s hearing.

Trump co-defendant Michael Roman has accused Fani Willis and Nathan Wade of violating “laws regulating the use of public monies” and says they “suffer from irreparable conflicts of interest.” Specifically, he alleges Wade paid for multiple trips for him and Willis, including to Napa Valley and Belize. Credit card statements later revealed Wade paid for at least two flights for Willis on his credit card.

Wade, in an affidavit submitted to the court, said expenses between him and Willis were “roughly divided equally” and that he used his personal funds. The affidavit also said the relationship started after he was hired on the case in 2021, and that he and Willis have never cohabitated.

However, Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, has alleged some of the statements in Wade’s affidavit were inaccurate. Merchant says she a witness ready to testify that the relationship predated Wade’s hiring, which would dispute Wade’s affidavit.

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