Fani Willis criticizes ‘wild and reckless’ speculation in conflict of interest claims by former Trump staffer – as it happened

Source link : https://usa-news.biz/2024/02/02/georgia/fani-willis-criticizes-wild-and-reckless-speculation-in-conflict-of-interest-claims-by-former-trump-staffer-as-it-happened/

Willis says conflict of interest claims led to ‘wild and reckless speculation’ and ‘extraordinary’ invasion of privacy

Despite allegations that prosecutor the Nathan Wade was overpaid for his work on the Georgia election subversion case, his pay was in line with his experience and the complexity of work he did, the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, writes in a court filing.

And, contrary to any assertions otherwise, any pay Wade made in the case did not personally benefit Willis, she said. They don’t share any joint accounts or expenses. When they’ve traveled together, they’ve split costs “roughly evenly”.

“Both are professionals with substantial income; neither is financially reliant on the other,” the filing says.

Willis also says Wade’s employment complied with applicable state and local laws and payments received the proper approvals.

The former Trump staffer Michael Roman’s filings alleging the personal relationship should disqualify Willis have engaged in “wild and reckless speculation” and attempts to subpoena a wide net of people connected to Willis and Wade for this purpose is an “extraordinary level of invasion of privacy”, Willis wrote.

She wants the motions to disqualify her from the case to be denied by the court “without further spectacle”.

Friday afternoon saw the public admission of a relationship between the Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis and the special prosecutor Nathan Wade, which will undoubtedly became a conservative rallying point to discredit the election subversion case against former president Donald Trump.

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Here’s what happened today:

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  • Willis and Wade confirmed for the first time on Friday that they had a romantic relationship, but denied any wrongdoing. Willis said she should not be disqualified from the case.

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  • The response comes after the former Trump staffer Michael Roman’s filings attempting to get Willis booted from the case based on what Willis called “wild and reckless speculation” and an “extraordinary level of invasion of privacy”.

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  • Trump responded on his social media platform, Truth Social, deflecting from the merits of the case against him: “THAT MEANS THAT THIS SCAM IS TOTALLY DISCREDITED & OVER!”

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  • Legal experts say the response from Willis and Wade, in which both say they did not share expenses and weren’t financially entangled, should go a long way toward staving off any removals from the case.

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  • But perceptions of conflicts of interest will play a role in how the case is viewed now, and conservatives will continue to bring up the relationship while the case continues.

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  • Separately, Willis has been subpoenaed by the chair of the House judiciary committee and Trump ally, Jim Jordan, to produce documents related to the use of federal grant money in prosecutions and the potential misuse of those funds.

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Outside the Willis/Wade/Trump issue, today’s news:

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  • A federal judge in DC postponed Donald Trump’s March trial on charges of plotting to overturn election as an appeal by Trump claiming immunity from prosecution for actions taken as president goes through the courts. No new date is set.

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  • The US jobs market defied fears of a downturn again in January with employers adding 353,000 new jobs over the month, the labor department announced on Friday.

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  • Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, honored the three US service members who were killed in a drone strike in northern Jordan.

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Stories to watch this weekend:

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  • The lead Democratic negotiator, Senator Chris Murphy, has confirmed that the text of the long-awaited border security bill will be released this weekend and voted on next week.

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  • The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, will travel to the Middle East from Sunday to Thursday to work for the release of hostages still held by Hamas and to secure a humanitarian pause, the state department said, according to Reuters.

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  • Democrats will hold their first official primary contest in South Carolina on Saturday, expected to be an easy win for Biden.

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The former president Donald Trump, the main target of the Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis’s extensive election subversion case, has commented on Willis’s admission that she had a personal relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade.

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On social media platform Truth Social, Trump repeated the allegations that Willis’s hiring of Wade enriched her personally, a claim Willis has denied.

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“By going after the most high level person, and the Republican Nominee, she was able to get her ‘lover’ much more money, almost a Million Dollars, than she would be able to get for the prosecution of any other person or individual. THAT MEANS THAT THIS SCAM IS TOTALLY DISCREDITED & OVER!”

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Despite allegations that prosecutor the Nathan Wade was overpaid for his work on the Georgia election subversion case, his pay was in line with his experience and the complexity of work he did, the Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, writes in a court filing.

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And, contrary to any assertions otherwise, any pay Wade made in the case did not personally benefit Willis, she said. They don’t share any joint accounts or expenses. When they’ve traveled together, they’ve split costs “roughly evenly”.

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“Both are professionals with substantial income; neither is financially reliant on the other,” the filing says.

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Willis also says Wade’s employment complied with applicable state and local laws and payments received the proper approvals.

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The former Trump staffer Michael Roman’s filings alleging the personal relationship should disqualify Willis have engaged in “wild and reckless speculation” and attempts to subpoena a wide net of people connected to Willis and Wade for this purpose is an “extraordinary level of invasion of privacy”, Willis wrote.

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She wants the motions to disqualify her from the case to be denied by the court “without further spectacle”.

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We’re reading through the court filing from Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor, now. The full document posted today can be found online here.

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Some interesting context:

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In the filing, Willis points out two interpersonal relationships between defense attorneys working for those charged in the sprawling Trump election case.

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The attorney for the defendant Ray Smith and the attorney for the defendant Kenneth Chesebro are “publicly known to be in a personal relationship”, the filing says. And the two counsels for Jenna Ellis are “married law partners”.

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The state didn’t try to make these relationships a conflict-of-interest issue in the case because these kinds of relationships don’t constitute a legal conflict. Until Michael Roman filed a motion alleging the relationship between Willis and Wade was worthy of disqualification, “the private lives of the attorney participants in this trial was not a topic of discussion”, the filing says.

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The Fulton county district attorney, Fani Willis, and Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor working on the case against Donald Trump and 14 other defendants, confirmed for the first time on Friday that they had a romantic relationship, but denied any wrongdoing and Willis said she should not be disqualified from the case.

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“In 2022, District Attorney Willis and I developed a personal relationship in addition to our professional association and friendship,” Wade wrote in an affidavit attached to a motion Willis filed in court on Friday. He was hired to work on the Trump case in 2021.

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Willis wrote in a filing she had no personal or financial conflict of interest that “constitutes a legal basis for disqualification”. She urged Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case, to dismiss a request to disqualify her without a hearing, which is scheduled for 15 February. She wrote:

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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.

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…. to be continued
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Author : usa-news

Publish date : 2024-02-03 00:49:36

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