By Andrew Goudsward
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A lawyer hired to help run the Georgia election interference criminal case against Donald Trump paid for airline tickets for the district attorney overseeing the prosecution, bank records attached to a legal filing showed on Friday, potentially bolstering claims the two had an inappropriate relationship.
Records show special prosecutor Nathan Wade paid for flights with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to Miami in 2022 and San Francisco in 2023, according to court documents seen by Reuters. The charges brought by Willis against the Republican former U.S. president are in one of two cases in which Trump is accused of crimes for trying to overturn his 2020 election loss.
The filing appears to provide some documentation of a claim made by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman that Wade paid for vacations with Willis while he was being compensated by the district attorney's office for his work on the election probe. It was not clear whether Willis reimbursed Wade for the travel.
The bank records made public on Friday were revealed by lawyers for Wade's estranged wife Joycelyn Wade as part of divorce proceedings in Georgia state court.
"We aim to help Ms. Wade resolve her divorce fairly and privately, but apparently Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis would prefer to use her public platform," lawyers for Joycelyn Wade said in a statement.
Roman, who is seeking to dismiss the criminal case and disqualify Willis, is facing racketeering charges along with Trump and 14 co-defendants accused of conspiring to overturn the former president's 2020 loss to Democrat Joe Biden in Georgia. Trump is now the frontrunner for the Republican nomination to challenge Biden in the November U.S. election.
Roman's lawyer alleged in a court filing this month that Willis benefited financially from an "improper, clandestine personal relationship" with Wade. Willis has not yet responded to the allegations.
Willis on Thursday sought to avoid sitting for a deposition in the divorce case and accused Joycelyn Wade of using court documents to "annoy, embarrass and oppress" her, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, citing a court document that the paper posted online.
A spokesperson for Willis and lawyers for Wade did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The judge overseeing the criminal case on Thursday scheduled a Feb. 15 hearing on the allegations against Willis, who faces a Feb. 2 deadline to file court papers responding to the claims.
(Reporting by Andrew Goudsward; Editing by Will Dunham)