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Judge unseals records of divorce case that embarrassed Trump’s attorneys

Written by The Anand Market

Updated on:

A Georgia judge on Monday unsealed a divorce case in which the Atlanta District Attorney was prosecuting former President Donald J. Trump, but halted plans to compel testimony from the prosecutor, Fani T. Willis.

One of the parties to the divorce, Nathan Wade, is the lawyer Ms. Willis hired to handle the election interference case against Mr. Trump and his allies.

Earlier this month, Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign official and one of Mr. Trump’s co-defendants, claimed in a filing that the two prosecutors were in a romantic relationship and that Ms. Willis may have violated laws local and state governments in hiring Mr. Wade.

The same day, Ms. Willis received a subpoena from Mr. Wade’s wife, Joycelyn Wade, to testify in the divorce case.

Although Mr. Roman initially provided no evidence of a relationship, a filing last week in Wade’s divorce case included credit card statements showing that Mr. Wade had purchased airline tickets for himself and Mrs. Willis on April 25, 2023, for travel from Atlanta. in San Francisco, and on October 4, 2022, for a trip to Miami.

The accusations do not change the facts underlying the case against Trump. A Georgia grand jury has already indicted Mr. Trump and 18 others on racketeering charges for their roles in a plot to overturn the state’s 2020 election results. Four of the defendants have already pleaded guilty, including some of Mr. Trump’s most vocal defenders in 2020, lawyers Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis.

But the accusations considerably complicate the case. In a letter to Ms. Willis on Friday, the Fulton County commissioner who chairs an audit committee demanded documents to determine whether county funds paid to Mr. Wade “were converted into your personal gain in the form subsidized travel or other gifts. .” Mr. Wade was paid $250 an hour for his work on the case, earning more than $650,000 so far.

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There have also been calls for a new state board, created to oversee district attorneys, to examine Ms. Willis’s conduct.

On Monday, Mr. Roman’s lawyer argued during a brief hearing in suburban Cobb County that Wade’s divorce papers, sealed since February 2022, had not been properly sealed. Cobb County Superior Court Judge Henry R. Thompson agreed, unsealing the divorce case.

Ms Willis’ lawyer, Cinque Axam, pleaded for her not to be involved in the divorce case. He said his client “shares no account” with Mr Wade and added that Ms Willis did not have unique knowledge of the matter and therefore should not be impeached.

Andrea Dyer Hastings, Ms. Wade’s lawyer, called Ms. Willis “the alleged lover of my client’s husband.”

“I want to know how he spends his money,” Ms Hastings told the judge. “I have reason to believe he’s spending it on another woman.” It’s my client’s money. And I want to ask about this.

The judge said that because the Wades’ two children are adults, the only issue to be determined is how to split the couple’s money. “We have a math problem here,” he said.

He suspended Ms. Willis’ testimony, which was scheduled for Tuesday, saying he wanted to hear from Mr. Wade first.