A defendant in the Georgia election interference case charged alongside former President Trump has doubled down on allegations Fulton County (Ga.) District Attorney Fani Willis (D) and a top prosecutor in the case began a romantic relationship prior to his hiring.
Michael Roman, a 2020 Trump campaign operative, in court filings Friday urged the judge to move ahead with plans for a hearing so Roman’s team can cross-examine Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade in an attempt to get them disqualified from the case.
Roman’s lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, said she intends to show that Willis and Wade began “more than just a friendship” at a 2019 conference — three years prior to when the pair has said their relationship began, and also before Wade’s hiring to the election interference case.
“They are hoping this Court simply sees all growing smoke cloud and says, ‘No fire, nothing else to see here,’” Merchant wrote. “It is not that simple.”
The Hill requested comment from the Fulton County district attorney’s office.
Earlier in the day, Willis confirmed for the first time that she began a “personal relationship” with Wade in 2022 but insisted they were only friends when she first hired him, and vigorously defended her decision to do so, portraying him as an experienced attorney capable of leading one of the historic prosecutions against the former president.
She also urged the judge to reject the calls for her and Wade to step aside and do so without holding a hearing, arguing there was no legal basis for disqualification.
Merchant rebuffed Willis’s timeline of the relationship, however, suggesting there are witnesses who will repudiate the assertions.
Roman’s attorney also said Wade and Willis’s claim they never cohabitated will be disproven on cross-examination, including receipts showing they shared a hotel room with one king size bed in Aruba in November 2022 and promising witness testimony that they lived together at another time.
“This is a criminal case, not a civil case. It cannot be decided on ex parte, self-serving affidavits,” she wrote.
“Some of the individuals whom Mr. Roman has subpoenaed to testify have personal knowledge that Wade and Willis’ personal relationship began before his appointment as a special prosecutor,” Merchant continued. “In other words, they have knowledge that the assertion by Willis in the State’s response and in Wade’s affidavit are both false.”
She added: “This is the reason Mr. Roman is entitled to cross-examine the State’s witnesses, including Willis and Wade, on these material facts going to the heart of the issue of whether they should be disqualified.”
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Feb. 15, and both Willis and Wade have been subpoenaed to testify.
Roman’s allegations have proved a headache for the Fulton County district attorney’s office, raising questions over the top prosecutor’s decision making.
Trump has railed against Willis since Roman first brought the romance accusations to light early last month, and he has since joined the disqualification motion along with one other co-defendant.