Biggest takeaways after wild 2-day hearing on Fani Willis affair: 'What's done is done'

A bombshell admission by the defense's key witness left the judge 'wondering' about the evidence

The second and final day of a court hearing of evidence in allegations that Georgia prosecutor Fani Wills had an "improper" affair with her colleague has concluded, but the judge will still review testimony in a closed-door meeting. 

After a bombshell admission by the defense's key witness, Terrence Bradley, who avoided answering certain questions citing attorney client privilege, Judge Scott McAfee said he would hold an "in-camera" meeting with Bradley to determine if his privilege assertions are accurate.

Bradley is the former law firm partner to Nathan Wade, who is accused of having an affair that financially benefitted Willis after she hired him to help prosecute the election interference case against former president Donald Trump. 

Bradley had refused to answer some of the questions asked by defense counsel about what he knew about Wade and Wills’ relationship and when he knew, citing attorney client privilege. Bradley, for a brief time, was Wade’s lawyer during his divorce, which was finalized in 2023. 


Scott McAfee, Fulton County superior court judge, at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Alyssa Pointer)

But Bradley admitted that a large reason he left the law firm was because an employee at the firm accused him of sexual assault, though he denied the allegation. He also indirectly admitted that he paid the employee who accused him.

This is significant because earlier in his testimony Bradley testified that the reason he left the firm was related to Wade's divorce proceedings, and therefore covered by attorney client privilege.

Judge Scott McAfee said that Bradley's admission re-opens questions about what Bradley refused to answer about what he knew about Wade and Fani Willis' romantic relationship and when he knew. Bradley refused to answer citing attorney client privilege.

"Mr. Bradley previously testified that the reason he left the firm was totally and completely covered by privilege. When asked by the state, he went into a factual scenario that, to my mind, I don't see how it relates to privilege at all. And so now I'm left wondering if Mr. Bradley has been properly interpreting privilege this entire time," the judge said.

Earlier on Friday, Willis' father, John C. Floyd III, took the stand and confirmed what Willis testified to on Thursday - that her father taught her to keep large amounts of cash on hand at all times.

He 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 Wills’ impropriety were first made in court filings. 

During their romantic relationship, which ended roughly the summer of last year, Wade and Willis vacationed to wine country in California, the Caribbean, among other destinations. 

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 financially benefitted from hiring her lover. Four co-defendants have made similar accusations. 


John Floyd III, father of Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis, left, testifes at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.  (Alyssa Pointer)

The crux of the defense's case is whether they can prove with a money trail that Willis has a conflict of interest in the case against Trump and should be disqualified. 

Willis testified Thursday that she reimbursed Wade for her share of vacation expenses in cash, but both she and Wade testified there were no receipts for those transactions.

The defense, led by Ashleigh Merchant, are also trying to prove that Willis and Wade were romantically involved prior to Wade’s employment at the DA’s office.

Both Willis and Wade insisted that their relationship started in 2022, after Wade was hired. But they contradict testimony from Robin Yeartie, a former "good friend" of Willis and past employee at the DA's office. 


Willis at recent evidentiary hearing

Fulton County DA Fani Willis winks before being sworn in to testify on the hearing about an allegedly improper relationship with Nathan Wade. (Screenshot/Fox News)

Yeartie said she had "no doubt" the Willis and Wade's relationship started in 2019, after the two met at a conference. 

Yeartie testified to observing Willis and Wade "hugging" and "kissing" and showing "affection" prior to November 2021, and that she had no doubt that the two were in a "romantic" relationship starting in 2019, to when she and Willis last spoke in 2022. 

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

The highlight of the two-day proceeding was Willis’ own – an unexpected – testimony on Thursday, 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 for appearing to be wearing her dress backwards. She did not return to the witness stand on Friday. 

Judge McAfee said earlier in the week that it’s "clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one."

Judge McAfee said he would hold a summation hearing of all the evidence presented in the next week or two.

Allyn Stockton Jr., lawyer for co-defendant Rudy Giuliani told Fox News  following the hearing, "I don’t think anything has been earth shattering today, what’s done is done." 

When asked if the hearing would make a difference for his client, he replied, "As it relates to my client, what’s going on relates to all of it, about the integrity of the process itself."

"The judge is sharper than I am, I have no idea where he’ll come down on this," he said. 

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.