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Trump prosecutor testifies about romance with colleague

A lawyer prosecuting Donald Trump for trying to overturn his election defeat in Georgia has denied allegations by the former US president that his romance with the prosecutor overseeing the case presented a financial conflict of interest.

Mr Trump and some of his co-defendants assert that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified from the prosecution due to her relationship with the lawyer Nathan Wade, who they say paid for trips the two took together while Mr Wade was being paid by Ms Willis’ office.

The Georgia case is one of four criminal prosecutions that Mr Trump is facing as he closes in on securing the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November election.

Mr Trump himself was in New York today where a judge scheduled a trial on charges related to hush-money payments to a porn star to start on 25 March.

Mr Wade today pushed back on accusations raised by Mr Trump’s co-defendant Michael Roman that Ms Willis financially benefited from the relationship through travel Mr Wade paid for while being compensated by Ms Willis’ office.

Mr Wade testified that he booked travel with Ms Willis to California, Belize and Aruba, but said Ms Willis either reimbursed him in cash or covered other expenses.

“She’s going to insist that she carries her own weight,” Mr Wade said of Ms Willis.

Fani Willis previously acknowledged she had a romantic relationship with Nathan Wade (file photo)

Mr Wade spoke after a former friend and employee of Ms Willis, Robin Yeartie, contradicted the timeline of the relationship Ms Willis and Mr Wade have presented to the court.

Ms Yeartie testified that Ms Willis and Mr Wade began dating shortly after they met in 2019 and before Mr Wade was contracted to lead the Trump case. Mr Wade later testified that the relationship began early in 2022.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduled the hearing, which is scheduled to continue tomorrow, to determine whether Ms Willis’ office should be disqualified from prosecuting the election case.

That would cast doubt on the future of the prosecution.

Ms Willis’ office has blasted the disqualification effort as a publicity stunt based on “fantastical theories and rank speculation”.

The allegations have roiled Ms Willis’ historic prosecution of Mr Trump and 14 allies who have pleaded not guilty to charges of forming a criminal conspiracy to overturn Mr Trump’s 2020 defeat in Georgia.

Robin Yeartie testified that Ms Willis and Mr Wade began dating in 2019

Mr Trump has long presented the Georgia prosecution, and others he faces, as politically motivated attempts to prevent him from returning to power.

He has highlighted the claims against Ms Willis as evidence of perceived misconduct by those pursing him.

Mr Trump signed onto the disqualification effort, accusing Ms Willis of improperly discussing race during a speech in which she appeared to reference the allegations.

Ms Willis, who along with Mr Wade is black, has said her remarks did not violate any ethical rules.

Ms Willis may also be forced to testify at the hearing after the judge said he would not immediately rule on her office’s request to quash subpoenas from Mr Roman demanding they take the witness stand.

Mr Trump’s lawyers have been working to delay the various prosecutions he faces. Were he to win the November election, he could order a halt to two federal prosecutions – or possibly pardon himself of any federal convictions – as well as argue that as president he should not face state prosecutions like the Georgia case.

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