Cyprus Mail
US electionUSAWorld

Trump prosecutor Fani Willis testifies on misconduct allegations

file photo: fulton county district attorney fani willis holds a press conference after the indictment of donald trump
FILE PHOTO: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at a press conference after a Grand Jury brought back indictments against former president Donald Trump in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 14, 2023

Fani Willis, the prosecutor overseeing the election interference case against Donald Trump in Georgia, testified on Thursday about the former U.S. president’s claims that her romance with a colleague presented a financial conflict of interest.

I’ve been very anxious to have this conversation with you here today,” Willis told a lawyer for Michael Roman, a Trump co-defendant. She accused the lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, of lying in her arguments to the judge.

Willis’ took the stand after fellow prosecutor and former romantic partner Nathan Wade in testimony denied allegations of financial impropriety. Lawyers for Willis office initially opposed her testifying, but Willis dropped her opposition after making a surprise entrance in the courtroom.

Trump and some of his co-defendants assert that Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, should be disqualified from the prosecution due to her relationship with Wade, who they say paid for trips the two took together while Wade was being paid by Willis’ office.

The Georgia case is one of four criminal prosecutions that Trump is facing as he closes in on securing the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election. Trump himself was in New York on Thursday where a judge scheduled a trial on charges related to hush-money payments to a porn star to start on March 25.

Wade on Thursday pushed back on accusations raised by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman that Willis financially benefited from the relationship, giving her an incentive to prolong the prosecution.

Wade testified that he booked travel with Willis to California, Belize and Aruba, but said Willis either reimbursed him in cash or covered other expenses.

“She’s going to insist that she carries her own weight,” Wade said of Willis.

Defense lawyers grilled Wade on the trips, suggesting Willis would have had to pay thousands of dollars in cash to cover her share.

Wade spoke after a former friend and employee of Willis, Robin Yeartie, contradicted the timeline of the relationship Willis and Wade have presented to the court.

Yeartie testified that Willis and Wade began dating shortly after they met in 2019 and before Wade was contracted to lead the Trump case. Wade later testified that the relationship began early in 2022 while he was already working on the election probe.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduled the hearing, which is scheduled to continue on Friday, to determine whether Willis’ office should be disqualified from prosecuting the election case. That would cast doubt on the future of the prosecution.

Willis’ office has blasted the disqualification effort as a publicity stunt based on “fantastical theories and rank speculation.”

The allegations have roiled Willis’ historic prosecution of Trump and 14 allies who have pleaded not guilty to charges of forming a criminal conspiracy to overturn Trump’s 2020 defeat in Georgia.

Trump has long presented the Georgia prosecution, and others he faces, as politically motivated attempts to prevent him from returning to power. He has highlighted the claims against Willis as evidence of perceived misconduct by those pursing him.

Trump signed onto the disqualification effort, accusing Willis of improperly discussing race during a speech in which she appeared to reference the allegations. Willis, who along with Wade is Black, has said her remarks did not violate any ethical rules.

Willis may also be forced to testify at the hearing after the judge said he would not immediately rule on her office’s request to quash subpoenas from Roman demanding they take the witness stand.

Trump’s lawyers have been working to delay the various prosecutions he faces. Were he to win the November election, he could order a halt to two federal prosecutions — or possibly pardon himself of any federal convictions — as well as argue that as president he should not face state prosecutions like the Georgia case.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Prince William back to public duties after Kate’s cancer revelation

Reuters News Service

Tehran could review ‘nuclear doctrine’ amid Israeli threats

Reuters News Service

India’s election officials climb hills, ford rivers to reach voters

Reuters News Service

US House to vote on Ukraine and Israel aid, despite objections

Reuters News Service

Flooded UAE counts cost of epic rainstorm, airport still facing disruptions

Reuters News Service

EU leaders back new Iran sanctions after attack on Israel

Reuters News Service