Trump co-defendant alleges prosecutors in Georgia case lied about when their relationship started

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The legal team for a co-defendant in the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump alleged in a filing Friday that the personal relationship between Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade began earlier than they acknowledged.

“Mr. Roman believes the special prosecutor’s statement in his affidavit that the relationship did not start until 2022 is patently false,” Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s lawyers wrote in a footnote in Friday’s filing to Judge Scott McAfee.

In a previous filing, Wade said that he and Willis “developed a personal relationship” in 2022. He has said that their personal relationship did not exist when he was hired onto the high-stakes case about allegations that Trump and others were engaged in efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

Willis included that affidavit in her filing from last week, in which she stated that “any personal relationship among members of the prosecution team does not amount to a disqualifying conflict of interest or otherwise harm a criminal defendant.”

Roman’s lawyers claimed on Friday that Wade’s former divorce attorney, Terrence Bradley, “will refute” the claim that Wade and Willis “did not have a personal, romantic relationship before Willis appointed Wade as a special prosecutor.”

“Bradley has non-privileged, personal knowledge that the romantic relationship between Wade and Willis began prior to Willis being sworn as the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia in January 2021,” the filing said. “Thus, Bradley can confirm that Willis contracted with Wade after Wade and Willis began a romantic relationship, thus rebutting Wade’s claim in his affidavit that they did not start dating until 2022.”

The filing went on to say that Bradley was information about the timing of Willis and Wade’s relationship because he “obtained this information in a personal capacity as Wade’s friend prior to Wade’s decision to file for divorce.”

Roman’s lawyers also alleged that Bradley “will confirm” information about Willis and Wade “regularly” staying together at various residences.

Neither Willis nor Wade immediately responded to NBC News’ request for comment on Friday night. Bradley also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Roman’s lawyers again urged McAfee to keep plans to conduct a previously scheduled evidentiary hearing next Thursday to allow Roman to question witnesses and to present evidence. Roman previously issued subpoenas to Willis and Wade to testify at the hearing, but the district attorney’s team announced shortly after that they were filing motions to quash the subpoenas. Roman and Trump are attempting to get the indictment dismissed and Willis disqualified from the case.

Roman’s lawyers are alleging that Willis and Wade “have enriched themselves off this case,” pointing to money paid to Wade by Willis and records that reflect trips that Willis and Wade allegedly took together. The co-defendant’s lawyers asserted in the Friday filing that the district attorney has financially benefited from “vacations, hotel stays and the like that have nothing to do with this case or her official duties as a prosecutor.”

“These benefits are concrete, personal and financial,” the filing said. “They are also at odds with the district attorney’s obligation to seek justice, which is why both the district attorney and special prosecutor will always labor under this conflict, regardless of when their relationship began.”

Wade has previously said that the pair roughly split the cost of travel.

In a previous filing, the district attorney and her office disputed Roman’s claims, arguing that Willis and Wade’s personal relationship “has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis.”

“District Attorney Willis has no financial conflict of interest that constitutes a legal basis for disqualification,” a previous filing from Willis’ office said. “District Attorney Willis has no personal conflict of interest that justifies her disqualification personally or that of the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office.”

Both Roman and Trump, who faces 13 criminal counts, have pleaded not guilty in the Georgia election interference case. Four co-defendants have pleaded guilty.

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