Fani Willis admits “personal relationship” with colleague but denies “salacious” TrumpWorld claims

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a news conference at the Fulton County Government building on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Fulton County, Ga. District Attorney Fani Willis on Friday admitted to engaging in a “personal relationship” with an attorney she hired to manage the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump, The New York Times reports.

The state prosecutor, however, argued that the relationship should not disqualify her or her office from managing the case against the former president and 18 co-defendants. The acknowledgment follows a month of scrutiny sparked by a co-defendant’s motion alleging Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade engaged in an “improper clandestine personal relationship.” The motion seeks to have the pair barred from handling the case. 

“While the allegations raised in the various motions are salacious and garnered the media attention they were designed to obtain, none provide this Court with any basis upon which to order the relief they seek,” Willis wrote in the filing, adding that “the personal relationship between” her and Wade “has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit” to her.

Willis’ filing also features an affidavit from Wade insisting the relationship only began after he had been hired. Willis made clear in the filing that they shared financial responsibility for personal travel “roughly evenly,” and Wade asserted Willis “received no funds or personal financial gain from my position as Special Prosecutor.”

“I don’t believe she broke any rules or laws,” national security lawyer Bradley Moss, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “I do think it was very poor personal judgment on her part given the obvious high stakes nature of the inquiry. But the case is solid.”

Georgia State Law professor Anthony Michael Kreis reached a similar conclusion, arguing that the thin amount of evidence the co-defendant offered of Willis’ alleged impropriety looks “entirely immaterial” following Willis’ filing. “The issue was never the relationship *per se* but the timing of it and the sharing of expenses,” he added. “Those two issues have been put to rest by sworn statements.”

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