Fannie Willis faces disqualification from Donald Trump case

There are calls for Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis to be disqualified from Donald Trump’s election meddling case in Georgia, following unsubstantiated allegations that she had a romantic relationship with Nathan Wade. He was appointed as a special prosecutor in the proceedings.

The claim was made by Michael Roman, one of Trump’s co-defendants, in a court filing filed Monday. She is seeking to have his seven counts dismissed and Willis and her employees disqualified from the case. Newsweek reached out to the Fulton County District Attorney’s office and Trump representatives for comment by email on Tuesday.

In August 2023, Trump and 18 others were indicted in Georgia for allegedly breaking the law while trying to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state’s 2020 presidential election. The former president faces 13 criminal charges in Georgia, including a charge that he violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), originally enacted to combat organized crime. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has repeatedly said the case against him is politically motivated.

In a response on his Truth Social website, Trump called for all charges in the Georgia case to be dropped following the charges against Willis.

The former president wrote: “ALL CHARGES AGAINST ME AND OTHERS MUST BE WITHDRAWN IMMEDIATELY, WITH AN APOLOGY AND MONEY DAMAGES FOR THE ILLEGAL AND HIGHLY POLITICAL PERSECUTION OF INNOCENT PEOPLE.”

Writing on the microblogging website Threads, defense attorney and legal commentator Ken White said the charges against Willis are “potentially catastrophic for the case in Fulton County.” Any loss of the Georgia case would be a major victory for Trump, who polls show is the leading Republican candidate for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination.

Monday’s filing accuses Willis of having a “personal, romantic relationship” with Wade before the prosecutor was brought on the case, for which he was paid about $650,000 in what it called a “self-serving settlement.” Newsweek has not yet been able to verify these claims.

The 127-page document, filed by Roman’s attorney Ashley Merchant, said: “Sources close to both the special counsel and the district attorney confirmed that they had an ongoing personal relationship during the special counsel’s pending divorce proceedings .”

The filing added: “Accordingly, the district attorney and the special prosecutor have violated laws governing the use of public funds, suffer irreparable conflicts of interest, and violated their oaths under the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct, and should be disqualified from prosecuting this question.”

Roman’s filing also says Wade took vacations with Willis that were funded by payments his company received from Fulton County for work on the Trump case.

Referring to the case, the filing said, “Willis has benefited substantially and directly and continues to benefit from this litigation because Wade has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to prosecute this case on her behalf.

“In turn, Wade hosts Willis and pays for vacations around the world with money paid to him by Fulton County taxpayers and authorized only by Willis,” the filing added.

When contacted by ABC News for comment, a spokesperson for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said they would “respond through appropriate court filings.”

Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government Building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. There are calls for Willis to be disqualified from Trump’s Georgia election meddling case.
Joe Riddle/GETTY

In a Threads post, White, who runs the legal blog Popehat Report, wrote, “This Fannie Willis thing is potentially catastrophic for the Fulton County case and will be a giant propaganda win for Trump.”

In an interview with Washington Times, Georgia criminal defense attorney Andrew Fleishman said the state’s Board of Attorneys could choose to disqualify Willis from the case, replacing her with a new district attorney who “can wash his hands.”