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Georgia defense attorney reveals how she helped uncover Fani Willis and Nathan Wade affair that threatens Trump case

georgia-defense-attorney-reveals-how-she-helped-uncover-fani-willis-and-nathan-wade-affair-that-threatens-trump-case
Georgia defense attorney reveals how she helped uncover Fani Willis and Nathan Wade affair that threatens Trump case

The love life of Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has been under intense scrutiny since January, when it was revealed she had been sleeping with attorney Nathan Wade.

The revelation Willis had been romantically involved with the man she had appointed special prosecutor in the election interference case against Donald Trump was a bombshell no one saw coming — and drew disbelief from both sides of the political aisle.

On Wednesday, the lawyer who exposed them, Ashleigh Merchant, explained to a special Georgia Senate committee exactly how she did it — potentially uncovering a conflict of interest which will see Willis kicked off the case, stripped of her job or, potentially, worse.

Merchant was first tipped off about Willis and Wade’s relationship when she ran into Wade’s former law partner, Terrence Bradley, at court in Cobb County in September 2023, she testifed.

Ashleigh Merchant was quizzed on her investigation into the alleged affair on Wednesday morning.

Ashleigh Merchant was quizzed on her investigation into the alleged affair on Wednesday morning. AP

“Terrence essentially went through the whole thing,” Merchant recalled, saying how Bradley – who was also briefly Wade’s divorce lawyer – was first to tip her off about Willis’ relationship.

Merchant testified how Wade was considered a surprising choice to helm the biggest case of Willis’ career by the tight knit metro Atlanta legal community when he was appointed in November 2021.

In hearings about their relationship, both Willis and Wade have maintained their relationship did not start until spring 2022, after he had been appointed and the case was well underway.

However, Bradley was “very clear” it actually began at a judicial conference in October 2019, according to Merchant — which she has argued presents a conflict of interest and taints the case.

Open records requests from both the conference hosts and the county confirmed Willis did in fact attend the conference while Wade was one of the speakers, she claimed.

From the start the pair were very careful to keep their relationship under wraps, according to Bradley, and after the initial meeting Wade and Willis met up in hotels and a secret love nest.

Nathan Wade was still married when his affair with Willis allegedly started.

Nathan Wade was still married when his affair with Willis allegedly started. AP

Sometimes Bradley let Wade – who only reached a temporary agreement to settle his divorce in January – use his credit card to cover the illicit meet-ups without leaving a trail, Merchant told the committee.

“[He said] ‘you need to find her bestie…that’s the person whose condo it was that they would meet at,’” Merchant continued.

That “bestie” was eventually identified as Robin Yeartie, a former DA’s office employee.

Bradley did not remember Yeartie’s name, but Merchant was able to confirm her role in the saga by showing him her photo, she explained to the Senate committee.

After subpoenaing Wade’s cell phone’s geolocation data, Merchant’s investigator was able to narrow his cellular ‘pings’ down to an area very close to Yeartie’s condo in the months before he was appointed to the Trump case.

Fulton County DA Fani Willis is accused of behaving inappropriately over her ties to Wade.

Fulton County DA Fani Willis is accused of behaving inappropriately over her ties to Wade. Getty Images

There were also over 12,000 voice and text exchanges between Willis and Wade in 2021 – including over 2,000 voice calls, according to a documents submitted as evidence.

Bradley “detailed a lot of different travel” Wade and Willis supposedly did together during their relationship, Merchant told the committee.

In addition to jaunts to California, Texas, and other places in the United States, the pair also went on at least two cruises, and visited Belize, and the Bahamas, she explained.

Merchant subpoenaed Wade’s credit card statements, which showed the prosecutor bought tickets for himself and Willis through a travel agency between 2022 and 2023.

The purchase statements even included Fani Willis’ name and seat number – making the evidence that Wade paid for her to go on these trips “undisputed,” Merchant argued on Wednesday.

Merchant fact-checked all of her additional findings with Bradley, she told the committee.

“I did not want to say one word that had not been verified,” she said of her research ahead of the motion that was ultimately filed on Jan. 8.

In the motion, Merchant alleged Willis’ affair with Wade was a conflict of interest in the election racketeering case – and she committed misconduct when she went on the trips Wade paid for with money he’d earned as the case’s special prosecutor.

Judge Scott McAfee is set to rule on the Willis case within the next week or two.

Judge Scott McAfee is set to rule on the Willis case within the next week or two. AP

On Wednesday, Merchant noted she avoided naming Bradley as her initial source until she was forced to do so by the state.

Bradley was “very upset” when, in the days after the motion was filed, a friend of Wade’s called him to ask if he was the source of Merchant’s allegations, she told the committee.

The next day, Wade himself supposedly called Bradley’s “best friend” and told him to remind Bradley of his attorney-client privilege because of Wade’s divorce case, Merchant claimed.

Bradley, she added, had apparently been upset by how Wade treated his wife during their split, which is said to have taken place after he met Willis.

Merchant admitted that she was “taken aback” when Bradley later took the stand and denied that he had ever discussed the affair with her, and denied even basic knowledge about their relationship.

He also said texts where he had claimed they “absolutely” got together in 2019 were merely “speculation”.

However, pushing back on Bradley’s testimony in court, Willis’ office dismissed him as an unreliable narrator who “had every motive to lie” after he left Wade’s law firm under a cloud a suspicion about an alleged sexual assault.

The hearings over Willis and Wade’s relationship wrapped up on March 1 and Judge Scott McAfee is expected to rule on the allegations against them within the next two weeks.

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