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HomeGeneralFani Willis Lashes Out at Defense Lawyer From Witness Stand Amid Disqualification...

Fani Willis Lashes Out at Defense Lawyer From Witness Stand Amid Disqualification Hearing

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Fani Willis
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Cornered animals lash out, but so does an angry Fani Willis. On Thursday, the Fulton County District Attorney lashed out at a defense lawyer during her testimony before a judge.

The judge is considering disqualifying her from prosecuting Donald Trump on election interference charges. “It’s ridiculous to me that you lied on Monday, and yet here we still are,” Willis told the lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant.

On two occasions, Judge Scott McAfee gave Willis a warning. He would have to strike her testimony if she kept interrupting the questioner. The D.A.’s extremely tense testimony came hours into a hearing centered on certain allegations.

They claim that Willis personally benefited from her romantic relationship with attorney Nathan Wade. Wade is one of the top prosecutors in the criminal case. Willis and Wade say their relationship began before November 2021, when Wade became a special prosecutor.

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However, before Willis took the stand, a witness alleged that the relationship began years before Wade joined the case. The timeline is important to arguments over whether the prosecutors’ relationship is enough of a conflict of interest to warrant their disqualification from the criminal case.

Willis was eager to take the stand in the mid-afternoon, and her first agenda was to quickly accuse Merchant of lying to the court. “It seems today that a lawyer writes a lie, and then it’s printed for all of the world to see,” Willis said.

She also criticized Robin Yeartie, a former employee in the D.A.’s Office and self-described “good friend” of hers. Yeartie testified earlier Thursday that her relationship started in late 2019.

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“I certainly do not consider her a friend now,” Willis said of Yeartie. “I think that she betrayed our friendship.” Yeartie, who appeared before the court on Zoom, said there was “no doubt” in her mind about the timeline.

However, in his testimony, Wade claims that his romantic relationship with Willis did not start until 2022. Willis said the same thing in her testimony. According to Wade, they exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes in 2019, but things did not extend past talk of work.

They spoke two or three more times that year. But 2020 saw more contact between them, even though Wade said it was “not an everyday thing.” They spoke even more often in 2021, according to him.

“We’re private people,” Wade said, insisting he never talked about his personal relationship in social settings. “Our relationship wasn’t a secret, it was just private.”

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He also mentioned that his relationship with Willis ended around June 2023 but remained close. Willis was dismissed after over two hours on the stand. The hearing was to resume Friday morning with more witness testimony.

On Monday, McAfee denied Willis’ attempts to cancel the evidentiary hearing. He believed “it’s possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification.”

Those remarks came during a hearing on Willis’ bid to dismiss motions from defendant Michael Roman. Roman was the first to ask for a dismissal of the indictment and the disqualification of Willis due to her alleged personal and financial conflicts.

Roman’s court filing cited Wade’s divorce proceedings, saying they captured him and Willis traveling together to “vacation destinations” and purchasing cruise tickets.

Willis has tagged Roman’s allegations as “factually inaccurate, unsupported, and malicious.” Trump’s lawyers joined Roman’s motions in late January. The former president believes that the  Georgia case has been “totally discredited” by the relationship between Willis and Wade.

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In an early February court filing, the district attorney disputed multiple allegations made by Roman’s attorneys, even as she and Wade admitted the relationship. She denied the relationship started before Wade became the special prosecutor in the case. She also denied that the relationship affected their “exercise of any prosecutorial discretion.”

In an affidavit included in Willis’ filing, Wade added that he has “no financial interest” in the case’s outcome. He also said, “No funds paid to me in compensation for my role as Special Prosecutor have been shared with or provided to District Attorney Willis.”

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