Fani Willis Faces New Foe in Georgia

Fani Willis has faced further criticism over her relationship with Nathan Wade, a prosecutor in the racketeering case against Donald Trump in Georgia.

Willis, the Fulton County district attorney, is leading the case against Trump and 18 others who are accused of trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia. The former president has pleaded not guilty to all 13 charges against him and has said the case is part of a political witch hunt aimed at undermining his position as frontrunner for the GOP 2024 presidential nomination.

In recent weeks, Willis has come under pressure amid allegations about her relationship with Wade, a special prosecutor she hired in the case. Newsweek contacted Willis via LinkedIn for comment.

Former Trump staffer Michael Roman, a co-defendant in the case, made the accusations about Willis and sought to disqualify her and Wade from the trial. Willis and Wade said they had a romantic relationship in a 176-page court filing earlier this month but denied this represented a conflict of interest. An evidentiary hearing on the matter is scheduled for February 16.

Fani Willis
Fani Willis on August 14, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia. A politician running for a seat in Georgia’s State House has called for the impeachment of the Fulton County district attorney.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Meanwhile, in the latest filings before a Georgia court, a lawyer for Michael Roman said the DA’s relationship with Wade had begun earlier than they had disclosed.

Speaking about the issue with The Georgia Star News, C.J. Pearson, a Republican who is running for Georgia’s open House District 125 seat, said Willis should be impeached over the controversy. Polling for the seat that fell vacant after the resignation of Republican Representative Barry Fleming will be held on Tuesday, February 13.

Newsweek contacted Pearson by LinkedIn to further comment on this story.

“She needs to be impeached, it’s as simple as that,” said Pearson. “She needs to be impeached not only for her political prosecution of President Trump and conservative activists all across the state, but also due to the allegations of her using taxpayer dollars to fund her affair with a married man.”

“It’s clear as day that if any Republican did what she was accused of, they would be shown the door almost immediately, and the same should apply to Fani Willis here,” he said. “I think it shows a lack of courage by some in this state who refuse to hold her accountable.”

“Why are we allowing Democrats to get off the hook for this?” Pearson asked. “Where this is clearly an issue, there was clear impropriety, there was clear wrongdoing. She loves to talk about holding people accountable, let’s hold her accountable.”

Todd Landman, professor of political science at the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. suggested Pearson’s views may not have much influence.

He said: “Pearson at this stage is a long-shot candidate. His ideas around the impeachment of Fani Willis are not his alone, but any allegations he may make would need to be tested with evidence and rebuttal more formally. There remain many questions about timing and the flow of any public resource that could be construed as personal benefit. In addition to any factual discovery, there is the challenge of marshaling enough votes for formal impeachment, which he himself concedes may not yet be there.”

On Tuesday, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a complaint with the Georgia State Ethics Commission alleging Willis had failed to file personal financial disclosure statements since opening her investigation into former President Donald Trump.

However, Willis has also received some support. Last week, a coalition of 17 ethics experts, former prosecutors and defense attorneys filed a court brief arguing that Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee should dismiss motions alleging Willis acted improperly.

In a court filing, Willis also argued that personal relationships are not uncommon and do not create legal conflict.