Judge orders unsealing of divorce case involving Georgia special prosecutor accused of affair
Jan 22, 2024, 10:49 AM
(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — A judge on Monday ordered court records to be made public in the divorce involving a special prosecutor hired in the election case against Donald Trump and others and accused of having an affair with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
The judge ordered the unsealing of the divorce involving special prosecutor Nathan Wade after a request brought by a defense attorney who alleges Wade is in an inappropriate relationship with Willis. The judge put off a final decision on whether Willis will have to sit for questioning in the divorce case, but delayed her deposition that had been scheduled for Tuesday.
Willis has defended her hiring of Wade, who has little prosecutorial experience, and has not directly denied a romantic relationship. Willis has accused Wade’s estranged wife of trying to obstruct her criminal election interference case against Trump and others by seeking to question her in the couple’s divorce proceedings.
Willis was served with the subpoena to sit for a deposition in the divorce case the day that defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who represents former Trump campaign staffer and onetime White House aide Michael Roman, filed a motion alleging the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade.
Joycelyn Wade’s attorney has filed court documents showing Wade bought plane tickets in Willis’ name, arguing there “appears to be no reasonable explanation for their travels apart from a romantic relationship.”
The affair allegations have roiled the case, which charges Trump and 18 allies of working to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. Trump and others have seized on the allegations to attack the case and Wade’s qualifications as a prosecutor.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the charges politically motivated.
The judge said he can’t rule on whether Willis should have to sit for a deposition in the divorce case until after Wade himself is questioned later this month.
A lawyer for Joycelyn Wade wrote in court papers filed Friday that Nathan Wade has taken trips to San Francisco and Napa Valley, Florida, Belize, Panama and Australia and has taken Caribbean cruises since filing for divorce and that Willis “was an intended travel partner for at least some of these trips as indicated by flights he purchased for her to accompany him.”
The filing includes credit card statements that show Nathan Wade — after he had been hired as special prosecutor — bought plane tickets in October 2022 for him and Willis to travel to Miami and bought tickets in April to San Francisco in their names.
It’s one of four cases Trump is facing as he vies to return to the White House. Prosecutors are using a statute normally associated with mobsters to accuse the former president, lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power.
Four people have already pleaded guilty in the Georgia election case after reaching deals with prosecutors. The remaining 15, including Trump nd former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have pleaded not guilty.
Richer reported from Boston.