Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ hired her alleged lover’s law partner to work for her office at a rate of $150 an hour, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation — an arrangement that is raising eyebrows among legal experts who question her spending of public funds.
Willis hired Campbell to provide services as a “Taint Attorney” reviewing privileged evidence beginning in Jan. 2021 at a rate of $150 an hour, contracts obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show.
“Taint attorneys” help sift through files obtained from a search warrant to filter out evidence covered by things like attorney-client privilege and prevent them from being passed to prosecutors.
Willis appointed Campbell’s partner, Nathan Wade, in November 2021 to serve as special prosecutor in the case against former President Donald Trump despite him allegedly being her boyfriend.
A co-defendant of former President Donald Trump accused Willis in a motion last week of awarding Wade, her alleged lover, a “lucrative” contract, claiming she benefited from it because he took her on trips and cruises using the money he earned from the position. The motion further alleged Willis never secured approval from the Fulton County Board of Commissioners to appoint Wade and paid him using funds she requested to clear a backlog of cases from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The circumstances surrounding the contracts raise concerns about Willis’ allocation of funds, legal experts told the DCNF.
John Malcolm, vice president for the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government and former deputy assistant attorney general in the DOJ’s Criminal Division, told the DCNF that payments to Campbell could pose additional problems for Willis if his work as a taint attorney was for the Trump case.
“It’s not just the issue about Wade being her paramour and the issue of kickbacks, but she also got the funds by misleading the Fulton County Commissioners about what the funds were going to be used for,” he said. “In addition to that, it would enrich [Wade’s] firm.”
Willis hired three outside attorneys to work on the Trump case — Wade, John Floyd and Anna Cross. Willis claimed that she paid all three special counsels on the Trump case the same hourly rate, though billing statements obtained by the DCNF revealed she was paying Floyd a lower hourly rate than Wade, her alleged lover.
Campbell’s contract, which spans from Jan. 25, 2021 to Jan. 25, 2022, places him at the same hourly pay rate Willis initially awarded Floyd, who’s known as Georgia’s top racketeering expert, in his contract beginning in April 2021. Other billing statements and contracts show Floyd was later paid $200 an hour.
Willis also contracted with Anna Cross, a prosecutor with 20 years of experience who has represented Georgia in multiple high-profile homicide cases, to work at a rate of $250 an hour, according to contracts obtained by the DCNF.
Wade’s contracts starting on Nov. 1, 2021 and billing statements reveal he received $250 an hour for his work as special prosecutor, $100 more than his partner, Campbell. Wade has received nearly $654,000 from the Fulton County District Attorney’s office since the start of 2022, according to county records.
Under a separate contract spanning from March 1, 2021 to April 30, 2021, Campbell was also hired to provide services as a “First Appearance Attorney” at a rate of $65 an hour, according to the document.
The job is to represent the District Attorney’s Office at a defendant’s First Appearance hearing, which is held before a judge within 72 hours of arrest to consider the issue of bond and notify the defendant of charges.
“This is a mystery in and of itself,” Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway told the DCNF. “I have no clue why any DA’s office needs to pay a private lawyer to handle ‘first appearance’ calendars. Any Assistant DA could easily do that. They are already on the payroll and it is the most simple of all tasks.”
Holloway said it seems to be a “conflict of interest” for Campbell to work as a taint attorney — what is supposed to be a neutral third-party seeking to determine whether privileged material should be withheld from the prosecutor — while simultaneously working as a “de facto” prosecutor representing the District Attorney’s office in handling the regular court calendar.
“I think there’s a lot of questions that have to be answered,” Holloway said.
While it is unclear what cases Campbell was working on from the contracts alone, Malcolm said there would likely be a need for a taint attorney on the Trump case.
“Certainly there are going to be a lot of privilege issues with respect to the Trump case — attorney client privilege matters and executive privilege matters — so there would be a need for a taint attorney,” Malcolm told the DCNF.
Malcolm noted that it “might be a bit of a problem that he is at the same firm” as Wade, adding you would normally “expect a totally outside lawyer” to review for these kinds of issues.
Campbell’s contract to work as a Taint Attorney says “services to be rendered are of a special and temporary nature which has been determined to be in the best interest of the public to be performed under contract by professional personnel.” Another contract spanning from Feb. 1, 2022 to Oct. 31, 2022 reflecting similar duties to “receive and review law enforcement records and review in a confidential manner” is also set at a $150 hourly rate.
“I am not sure how often Fulton county hires out on that sort of thing but those rates strike me as reasonable,” Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney Andrew Fleischman told the DCNF. “I don’t know whether they’re connected to [W]ade or to efforts to address the COVID backlog.”
Wade & Campbell, the firm the two operate, handles cases relating to personal injury, family law, contract law and criminal defense, according to its website. Wade’s experience prior to joining Willis’ Trump probe was primarily in private practice dealing with contract disputes and family law, along with serving as a municipal judge dealing with traffic tickets, according to The Washington Post.
Neither the District Attorney’s office nor Campbell responded to requests for comment.