Georgia judge pumps brakes on Fani Willis deposition in prosecutor’s divorce case

Georgia judge pumps brakes on Fani Willis deposition in prosecutor’s divorce case

A Georgia judge put a pause Monday on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s (D) scheduled deposition in divorce proceedings involving a top prosecutor in the 2020 election interference case against former President Trump.

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade’s divorce came into the spotlight after one of Trump’s co-defendants, Michael Roman, accused Wade and Willis of being involved in an improper romantic relationship that renders the district attorney’s office’s sweeping racketeering indictment “fatally defective.”

Andrea Hastings, a lawyer for Wade’s estranged wife, argued Monday that Willis has “unique knowledge” about Wade’s marriage and that her position as district attorney shouldn’t protect her from divulging that information to assist in dividing the Wades’s marital assets.

Willis was subpoenaed earlier this month in the ongoing divorce case between Wade and his wife, Joycelyn, which began in 2021.

“She’s trying to hide under the shield of her position,” Hastings said of Willis.

Willis’s lawyer, Cinque Axam, said Monday that any knowledge Willis obtains could also be provided by Wade.

“You’ve got two partners in the case, one who is alleged to have some extramarital affair with Ms. Willis,” Axam argued. “If that is the case — if that is true, [Wade] has that information.”

“There are other means by which that information can be achieved in this case,” he said.

Axam also said Willis does not share any bank accounts with Wade, nor does she determine how he spends his money — “no matter where it comes from,” he said.

Last week, Wade’s wife in court filings accused Wade of purchasing multiple flights for himself and Willis in the months before they charged Trump and 18 others with attempting to subvert the state’s 2020 election results.

The documents include bank statements that appear to show flights to San Francisco and Miami as the Fulton County district attorney’s office investigated Trump and his allies.

Judge Henry Thompson declined to absolve Willis from being deposed in the future but temporarily paused the requirement until after Wade has been deposed.

“Only after I hear what Mr. Wade has to say do I think I can make a determination of whether the proposed opponent has any unique knowledge about these issues,” Thompson said.

Thompson also agreed to unseal documents related to Wade’s divorce, after finding that the original order sealing the case was not properly entered.

The matter was brought to the court’s attention by Ashleigh Merchant, Roman’s lawyer. A coalition of media outlets also filed to unseal the records.

Roman, the defendant who originally brought attention to the alleged relationship, has asked a judge to dismiss the case against him and block Willis, Wade and the Fulton County district attorney’s office from further involvement in the case.

The district attorney’s office has repeatedly declined to comment on the romance accusations and indicated it will respond in court documents.

Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing Trump’s case, ordered Willis to address the accusations in writing by Feb. 2.

McAfee also scheduled a hearing on the matter for Feb. 15.

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