A member of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners is investigating District Attorney Fani Willis over allegations that she engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a special prosecutor she hired to work on the Trump election-interference case and is thus benefiting from the case.
“Under no circumstances should an elected official contract with or hire someone who they are in a romantic relationship with,” Commissioner Bob Ellis said in a statement, according to NBC News, adding that even in the absence of a relationship, “accepting favors and extravagant gifts from such contractors should also be considered improper.”
WATCH — Fani Willis on Possible Trump Jail Time: No “Special Break”:
Ellis wrote in a letter to Willis on Friday:
As the Chair of the Fulton County Audit Committee, I must reasonably inquire about allegations contained in a recent court filing asserting that you misused County funds and accepted valuable gifts and personal benefits from a contractor/recipient of County funds.
These allegations involve your decision to appoint Nathan Wade to serve as a special prosecutor in the matter in which former President Trump is a co-defendant. Mr. Wade is alleged to (1) lack relevant prosecutorial experience in a case of this type and complexity, (2) have paid for your portion of multiple instances of joint leisure travel, and (3) be in a romantic relationship with you that was not disclosed to the court or to the parties in the case.
Separate from any potential inquiry by the State of Georgia, this situation requires confirmation of whether County funds provided for the operation of your office and its prosecutorial function were used in an appropriate manner, and whether any payments of County funds to Mr. Wade were converted to your personal gain in the form of subsidized travel or other gifts.
Ellis has asked Willis to provide information to a list of requests for documents by February 2, including any work expenses submitted by Wade and payments to him.
The request comes after an attorney for Wade’s wife, Joycelyn Wade, submitted a filing on Friday related to her and Wade’s divorce case with bank statements showing that Wade had paid for airplane tickets for himself and Willis for at least two trips to Miami and San Francisco. The filing also claimed they went to Belize, Panama, and Australia:
Since Plaintiff filed for divorce, he has taken trips to San Francisco and Napa Valley, to Florida and even gone on Caribbean cruises, enjoyed a trip to Belize, another to the country of Panama and even just last month took a trip to Australia. The evidence is clear that Ms. Willis was an intended travel partner for at least some of these trips as indicated by flights he purchased for her to accompany him.
Wade filed for divorce from his wife the day after Willis hired him on November 2, 2021.
The allegations of the inappropriate relationship were first made in a filing last week by an attorney for co-defendant, and former aide to President Donald Trump, Mike Roman. The filing argued that Willis is personally benefiting from the case, via lavish vacations with Wade, and that the charges against him should be dismissed and she and Wade should be recused from the case.
Willis has not denied the relationship, and instead has suggested the allegations stemmed from racism and has even blamed Wade’s wife for trying to seek her testimony and obstruct her case against Trump. Wade’s wife’s attorney on Friday said she was not trying to obstruct the case, but instead to seek information “relevant to the equitable division of the marital estate, dissipation of marital assets, and the Plaintiff’s capacity to provide spousal support.”
A Cobb Country judge has set a Monday 11:30 a.m. Eastern emergency hearing to hear arguments on Willis’s efforts to block a subpoena from Wade’s wife’s attorney and whether or not to unseal divorce records in the case, NBC News reported.