Judge Delivers Setback To Fani Willis’ Attempt To Avoid Testifying

Judge Scott McAfee declined to immediately decide whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and other witnesses will be required to testify on corruption allegations at a hearing later this week.

McAfee will consider Thursday a motion to disqualify Willis based on allegations that she financially benefited from appointing her romantic partner, Nathan Wade, to work on the case against former President Donald Trump. During a hearing Monday, he put off ruling on Willis’ effort to quash a subpoena requiring her to testify, noting he would wait to see if it is necessary after he hears from others.

“We’re not talking about calling Ms. Willis as the first witness, and we need to get over a few procedural hurdles before we can get there,” McAfee said.

McAfee indicated that he would first hear from another witness, Terrence Bradley, who is Wade’s friend, former law partner and former attorney during a portion of his divorce case. Bradley earned $74,480 from the district attorney’s office between May 2021 and June 2022, according to county records.

Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, said in a court filing Friday that Bradley, along with multiple other witnesses, would refute Wade’s claim that his relationship with Willis did not begin until after his contract with the district attorney’s office started. Merchant wrote in the filing that Bradley had “personal knowledge” that the two lived together at various times: first in Willis’ home, later at an apartment where Willis’ friend and former employee Robin Yeartie had previously lived in and then at a “safehouse” Fulton County allegedly rented for Willis.

Anna Cross, one of the special prosecutors appointed by Willis, said Monday that none of the witnesses would testify contrary to Wade’s affidavit.

“The defense is not bringing new facts,” Cross said. “The defense is not bringing new law. The defense is bringing new gossip … The court should not condone that practice.”

Willis also sought to quash subpoenas for a number of other witnesses, including Wade and members of her staff.

“I think Ms. Merchant has established a good faith basis for relevance,” McAfee said. “And I don’t see how quashal can be imposed here.”

“At this point, with each one of these witnesses, I would defer the ruling until we get further into the hearing itself,” McAfee said.

Katelynn Richardson on February 12, 2024

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