February 17, 2024

Fani Willis not called Friday for testimony on misconduct claims

Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia, prosecutor in charge of the investigation against Trump for alleged election interference, did not testify at a hearing on Friday as expected.

The hearing was a continuation of proceedings meant to investigate the possibility of a conflict of interest stemming from her sexual relationship with a special prosecutor she appointed, as Reuters reported.

Willis was set to give another day of testimony after firmly scolding the defense attorneys on Thursday for interrogating her about her private life in what she deemed as an effort to undermine the Trump case.

On Friday, an attorney representing Willis' office indicated that she would not provide further testimony, despite expectations that she would do just that.

Case Details

A former law partner of Nathan Wade -- the special prosecutor with whom Willis was romantically involved -- was among the other witnesses set to testify. By claiming that Willis' relationship with Wade created a conflict of interest, Trump and several of his co-defendants in the election meddling case are attempting to disqualify Willis and dismiss the criminal charges entirely.

These allegations have the potential to derail the criminal case against Trump and several of his campaign associates for allegedly trying to illegally reverse his 2020 loss in Georgia. Not guilty pleas have been entered by Trump and the other fourteen defendants.

Trump has always maintained that the four pending criminal charges against him are an attempt to smear his name and sink his chances of returning to the White House. He maintains that the charges leveled against Wade and Willis have cast doubt on the prosecution's case.

During his time as an employee of Willis' office, Wade arranged for three Caribbean vacations for Willis, which Trump and his co-defendants claim were financial benefits she received from his appointment to the role.

Prosecutor Involvement

Wade was employed by Willis to assist with the investigation into election interference. Willis claimed that she attempted to pay for at least one trip herself and reimburse Wade in cash for airfare and accommodation.

“I don’t need anybody to foot my bills,” Willis testified.

The first day of a two-day hearing in Atlanta revolved around her testimony, and the focus was on whether Trump and his co-defendants can establish that the relationship led to an unlawful financial benefit. The case would presumably then be transferred to a different prosecutor's office, which would entail significant delays if Judge Scott McAfee were to disqualify Willis from pursuing the prosecution.

On Thursday, defense attorneys sought to cast doubt on the stated timelines of the relationship and the legitimacy of the cash payments by implying that Willis did not repay expenses paid by Wade. According to a Willis ex-employee and friend, the current D.A. started dating Wade soon after they met in 2019.

In early 2022, after Wade was hired to work on the case, Willis and Wade, who also took the stand on Thursday, both testified that the relationship became romantic, and it is the discrepancies in accounts that the judge will now be forced to assess.

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