Does alleged relationship between Fulton DA, special prosecutor affect election interference case?

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A new court filing is making additional allegations about an alleged romantic relationship between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Willis hired Wade as part of the election interference investigation that returned an indictment against former President Donald Trump and others.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne obtained a new court filing that makes allegations about travel and credit card statements. Winne also spoke to one of Georgia’s most respected experts on whether all this affects the election inference case.

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The court filing on behalf of Wade’s estranged wife, Joycelyn Wade, suggests her side seeks to dispose Willis in order to determine details surrounding her alleged romantic affair with Nathan Wade “as there appears to be no reasonable explanation for their travels apart from a romantic relationship.”

If Willis did have a relationship with Wade, does it affect the election interference case?

“It shouldn’t affect the legal case. What she does on her private life, whether we approve of it or disapprove of it, is not the issue in a criminal trial. The issue in a criminal trial is whether or not the defendants did what they’re accused of doing. personal attacks on the prosecutor rarely work for lawyers in defending cases,” said Ed Tolley, an attorney and former chairman of the State Judicial Qualifications Commission.

The new filing obtained by Channel 2 Action News appears to be a response to a motion from Willis’ lawyer asking that the court grant a protective order quashing a subpoena for deposition.

The Joycelyn Wade filing from Friday now alleges that Willis’ arguments “are disingenuous, specious, and her claimed basis for same fails as matter of law.”

It adds: “Upon information and belief, [Willis] has information and knowledge directly relevant to alleged conduct of the Plaintiff that would be considered by the Court as to equitable division of the marital estate, dissipation of marital assets, and spousal support.”

Attached is what appears to be Capital One billings for late 2022 and early 2023 that appear to show references to two pairs of airline tickets -- in both instances one each for Nathan Wade and Fani Willis.

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Fulton County District Attorney Office spokesman Jeff DiSantis says Willis had serious conversations with five other lawyers about potentially hiring one of them for the election interference case special prosecutor job before she hired Nathan Wade for the post.

DiSantis says all five declined based on the hourly rate, $250 an hour, which is less than most prominent defense attorneys charge and/or security concerns.

DiSantis says one of those lawyers was former Fulton County gang prosecutor and now successful defense attorney Gabe Banks. He also confirmed former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes was also one of the five.

“A district attorney’s office, particularly when they have more difficult cases or very large cases, do have the legal authority to hire outside counsel to help. And in this case, she’s got three, uh, that she has brought in that are not technically part of her office. And that’s perfectly permissible,” Trolley said.

The new Jocelyn Wade filing states that Willis’ “implied threat to pursue charges against defendant and her counsel, based on inconvenient facts from her personal life that are directly relevant to the ongoing divorce proceedings in the above-styled action, is an affront to the integrity of her office.”

DiSantis says there has been no threat to pursue charges against Joycelyn Wade or her attorney.

Tolley told Winne that it appears Willis has put together a formidable team and one of the other special prosecutors besides Wade is Georgia’s foremost racketeering expert.

The DA’s office says neither Willis nor Nathan Wade has a comment, but will respond through court filings in both the election interference case and the divorce case.

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