[Fox News] Trump lawyers make closing arguments in DA Fani Willis ‘improper’ affair allegations: ‘irreparable stain’

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A Georgia state judge heard closing arguments Friday on allegations that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ affair with special prosecutor Nathan Wade benefited her financially and should disqualify her from the case against former President Donald Trump. 

Willis and her office are leading the sweeping racketeering cases against the former president and 18 co-defendants. Several co-defendants, including Michael Roman, earlier this year accused Willis of hiring Wade while they were romantically involved and that she benefited from his government salary through lavish vacations they took together. 

Willis and Wade have both denied the allegations and have claimed their romantic involvement started after Wade was hired in 2021. Willis claimed in court testimony that she would always reimburse Wade for her portion of their shared travels in cash. There are no receipts for those reimbursements, and one witness claimed their relationship started as early as 2019. 

John Merchant, attorney for Roman, argued Friday that Georgia law is clear in that the judge should use the legal standard of an “appearance” of conflict being enough to disqualify Willis, and said that Wade was “part of the scheme she created intentionally in order to give benefits to her boyfriend.”

Attorney Adam Abbate conversely argued that the legal standard for disqualification is an actual conflict. Fani Willis was present in the courtroom for a time during the state’s presentation.

FULTON COUNTY DA FANI WILLIS ACCUSED OF LYING ABOUT TIMING OF AFFAIR WITH TRUMP PROSECUTOR

Abbate argued against the accusation that Willis hired Wade for financial benefit, because she had asked the court for an expedited trial, meaning that the earlier the trial is scheduled for, the less time she has to reap financial benefits. 

He also argued that if Willis had a “scheme” to hire a prosecutor so that she could benefit financially, then it would have to be assumed she was also dating other candidates she considered for the job.

“[Y]ou’d have to believe that she was also dating Roy Barnes, the former governor, and Gabe Banks, in addition to Mr. Wade, if she has this grand plan scheme in order to profit off of the prosecution of this, because that’s what they’re saying,” Abbate said. 

“Or they’re saying that she telepathically or prophetically was able to know that Mr. Barnes and Mr. Banks would turn down the position so she could then hire Mr. Wade. It’s ridiculous,” he added.

Steve Sadow, attorney for Trump, argued that Wills’ remarks in a church earlier this month insinuating the affair allegations were race-based were a “calculated determination” to “prejudice the defendants and their counsel.”

Each side had 90 minutes to present their case to the judge.

At the conclusion of the hearing, McAfee said he would consider all the arguments and issue a decision in the matter in the next two weeks. 

Harry Macdouagled, attorney for co-defendant Jeffrey Clark, stated that the Willis controversy put “an irreparable stain on the case.”

“Think of the message that would be sent if they were not disqualified. If this is tolerated, we’ll get more of it. This office is a global laughingstock because of their conduct. They should be disqualified, and the case should be dismissed,” he said.

Before closing arguments began Friday, Judge Scott McAfee considered whether newly revealed text message data — allegedly showing that Wade visited Willis’ private home at least 35 times before he was hired — should be admissible as evidence. 

Wade testified last month that he did not visit Willis’ condo more than 10 times before being hired in November 2021. Willis and Wade maintain that their relationship began in early 2022.

Cellphone data seems to show that Wade twice traveled to Willis’ apartment late at night without leaving until the next morning. 

Wade and Willis have both testified that they did not sleep together at Willis’ condo in Haperville.

KEY WITNESS IN FANI WILLIS CASE TESTIFIES HE MAY HAVE LIED IN TEXTS ABOUT FRIENDS’ AFFAIR

The defense is trying to prove the existence and extent of any financial benefit to Willis from Wade from their relationship, which is the crux of their argument that Willis should be disqualified. 

Earlier this week, former law firm partner and divorce attorney Terrence Bradley testified under oath regarding what he knew about Willis and Wade’s personal relationship. Bradley took the stand after McAfee determined Bradley could not claim attorney-client privilege.

Bradley, when pressed under oath, said he could not recall several details and timelines about conversations he had with former client Wade about Wade’s romantic relationship with Willis.

Bradley said he could not recall key details or specific information more than two dozen times in the roughly two-hour testimony in Fulton County Superior Court on Tuesday. He also said he had only ever discussed Wade’s relationship with Willis once with Wade.

Earlier this month, Willis’ father, John C. Floyd III, took the stand and confirmed what Willis testified to, that her father taught her to keep large amounts of cash on hand at all times. She said it was from these funds that she reimbursed Wade for luxury trips, which is why she had no record of the payments.

Floyd also said he did not meet Wade until 2023 and that he was unaware his daughter had a romantic relationship with Wade until about seven weeks ago, when allegations of Willis’ impropriety were first made in court filings.

TEXT MESSAGES SHOW TIMELINE OF EVENTS TO DISQUALIFY FANI WILLIS, TRUMP CAMP ASSERTS

Michael Roman, a GOP political operative and co-defendant in the Trump case, first alleged that Willis had a conflict of interest in the case because she benefited financially from hiring her lover. Four co-defendants have made similar accusations.

The defense, led by John Merchant, is also trying to prove Willis and Wade were romantically involved prior to Wade’s employment in the DA’s office.

Robin Yeartie, a former “good friend” of Willis and past employee at the DA’s office, testified she had “no doubt” Willis and Wade’s relationship started in 2019, after the two met at a conference. 

Willis dismissed Yeartie’s testimony and said she no longer considers Yeartie a friend.

The highlight of the two-day proceeding was Willis’ own — and unexpected — testimony, which was described by one expert as “belligerent.”

She verbally sparred with lawyers for hours, at one point prompting the judge to threaten to strike her testimony. She also raised eyebrows by appearing to wear her dress backward. She did not return to the witness stand the following day. 

McAfee said at the start of the proceedings this month that it’s “clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.”

Fox News Digital’s Chris Pandolfo and Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.

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