Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis called allegations about her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade “meritless” Friday — though she confirmed a personal relationship developed in the months after hiring him.
A co-defendant of former President Donald Trump alleged in a Jan. 8 motion that Willis improperly benefited from awarding Wade a lucrative contract when he took her on vacations using money he earned from his position, claiming this was grounds to disqualify Willis and dismiss the case.
Willis responded Friday by arguing that their relationship does not represent a conflict of interest and never provided her with any financial benefit.
“While the allegations raised in the various motions are salacious and garnered the media attention they were designed to obtain, none provide this Court with any basis upon which to order the relief they seek,” the filing states.
In an affidavit attached to the filing, Wade stated that their relationship developed in 2022, and that they had no relationship other than as friends at the time of his appointment. He notes that expenses for personal travel “travel were roughly divided equally between us.”
Additionally, he stated that Willis at times “has made and purchased travel for she and I from her personal funds.”
“Roman’s motion wildly speculates that District Attorney Willis somehow benefited financially from the investigation and prosecution of this criminal case, but provides no support to justify that conclusion,” the district attorney’s motion states. “To be absolutely clear, the personal relationship between Special Prosecutor Wade and District Attorney Willis has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis.”
The motion defends Wade’s qualifications for the position, noting he “has long distinguished himself as an exceptionally talented litigator with significant trial experience.” Wade’s affidavit notes he was compensated at a rate of $550 an hour while contracted to work as outside counsel to represent the Sheriff of Cobb County.
Willis’ motion also defended allegations raised in a filing by Trump’s attorney that her comments made in a speech responding to allegations had introduced racial bias into the case.
“Defendant Trump’s motion raising public comments made by District Attorney Willis that neither reference this case nor these defendants as a basis for disqualification is transparently meritless,” she wrote. “The motion makes no serious legal argument, establishes no violation of any ethical rule, and makes no real effort to link the public statements to the legal standard for disqualification.”