The Georgia judge overseeing former President Trump’s criminal case scheduled a hearing next month to weigh accusations that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) hired her romantic partner as a top prosecutor on the case.
Judge Scott McAfee scheduled the hearing for Feb. 15 and directed Willis to respond to the allegations in writing by Feb. 2.
The accusation first surfaced last week in court papers filed by an attorney for Mike Roman, a Trump 2020 campaign operative who is one of the former president’s co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case. The filing did not contain any hard proof of the alleged relationship.
Roman said the purported relationship between Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade makes the indictment “fatally defective” and asked the judge to dismiss the charges. He also asked the judge to block the Fulton County district attorney’s office from further involvement in the case.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a worship service at the Big Bethel AME Church, where she was invited as a guest speaker on Jan. 14, 2024, in Atlanta. (Miguel Martinez/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
During a church service earlier this week, Willis appeared to defend her hiring of Wade, without naming him, also insinuating that race had played a role in the criticisms.
Trump’s lead lawyer in Georgia, Steve Sadow, signaled last week that the former president might join Roman’s motion after Willis has had a chance to respond. Trump himself called for the case against him to be dropped, describing Willis as “totally compromised.”
The allegations have given Trump-allied Republicans more fodder to paint the district attorney’s case as corrupt and politically motivated.
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A hearing in Wade’s ongoing divorce case, which Roman’s lawyer has said would yield evidence to support the claim, is scheduled for Jan. 31, two days before Willis is required to reply. The district attorney was subpoenaed in the divorce case the day the accusations went public, according to a court document obtained by The Hill.
Trump is charged alongside more than a dozen others — including Roman — with racketeering and other counts for allegedly entering a monthslong conspiracy to keep Trump unlawfully in power. It is one of four criminal indictments Trump, who pleaded not guilty, faces as he campaigns to return to the White House.
The Washington Post first reported the Feb. 15 hearing’s scheduling, which is slated for the same day that Trump and his legal team are expected to appear for a hearing in his hush money criminal case.
Updated 1:38 p.m. ET Jan. 18.