The Governor of Georgia described accusations of misconduct by the District Attorney prosecuting Trump election interference cases in the state as “deeply troubling,” to The Post on Friday.
A spokesperson for Governor Brian Kemp also indicated Fulton County DA Fani Willis could face a probe by a special commission over her alleged “improper” relationship with Nathan Wade, who she appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.
“These allegations are deeply troubling and evidence should be presented quickly in order for [presiding] Judge McAfee to rule and the public to have confidence in this trial moving forward,” the governor’s office said in a statement to The Post.
The co-prosecutors were first accused of having a “clandestine” relationship in a motion filed Monday by Michael Roman, one of Donald Trump’s 18 co-defendants in Willis’ Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act probe.
Roman’s lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, accused Willis and Wade of having “violated laws regulating the use of public monies, suffer from irreparable conflicts of interest, and have violated their oaths of office under the Georgia Rules of Professional Conduct and should be disqualified from prosecuting this matter.”
The court filing alleged that Wade paid for lavish vacations with Willis to Florida, Napa Valley and the Caribbean, using the legal fees he’s been paid by the Fulton County DA’s Office. Those claims have not been proven.
Kemp last year signed a new bill for a statewide Prosecuting Attorneys Statewide Qualifications Commission (PAQC) with the power to investigate complaints against District Attorneys and remove them if they have sufficient cause. The law outlines a series of offenses for which a prosecutor can be removed, including “misconduct in office”.
“Georgians need to be able to have confidence in this trial and the Georgia General Assembly laid out a specific process to investigate matters such as these,” the governor’s office wrote in a statement to The Post.
“The PAQC has the authority to investigate alleged misconduct by district attorneys and solicitors-general and discipline, remove, or cause the involuntary retirement of those who meet the conditions for removal.”
Kemp’s spokesperson told The Post Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene “has the right” to refer the matter to the commission because she filed a criminal complaint against Willis earlier this week.
In the complaint filed Wednesday, Greene (R-Ga.) requested an inquiry into the Fulton County district attorney regarding her alleged “secret boyfriend” Nathan Wade, the prosecutor representing her office in the former president’s case.
However, The commissioners’ terms will not formally begin until July 2024, and only then will it be ready to receive complaints.
Willis stayed largely out of public view on Friday. Wade briefly appeared in court briefly, but indicated his work would be handled by colleagues.
Harvey Silverglate, a criminal defense and civil liberties lawyer representing former Trump lawyer John Eastman in the RICO matter said his client and co-defendants no longer felt confident they were being prosecuted by somebody without “an axe to grind”.
“It’s very difficult when she [Willis] has an intimate relationship with the person in charge of trying the case,” he told The Post.
He also described the original appointment of Wade to role of special prosecutor as a shock given his lack of experience.
“This is a very difficult case to try and the fact that this is somebody with no experience is mind boggling,” he said.
According to Silverglate, the ideal outcome for his client would be for the state Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case.
“The independence and the independent judgment of the district attorney is called into question. And of course, that also affects public confidence because it’s important not only that justice be done but that the public see that justice is done,” he added.
“So it throws a gigantic monkey wrench in this whole thing.”
In arguing for the case to be dismissed earlier this week, attorneys for Roman made a number of accusation about Willis and Wade.
His legal team wrote in the motion Willis had failed to properly obtain the approval of the Fulton County commission before hiring Wade as special prosecutor.
But Pete Skandalakis, a Republican who leads the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia said District Attorneys in the state were not required to seek the authorization of county commissions before making such hires, The New York Times reported.
Roman’s attorneys also alleged Willis had a conflict of interest that broke her oath of office. Furthermore, they accused both Willis and Wade of violating the county’s “Code of Laws” and “The Rules of Professional Conduct Regarding Conflicts of Interest”.
Meanwhille, Willis — who sources have told The Post has been working with Wade since at least 2019 — fawned over him and described him as both a “personal mentor” and “meaningful person” in an unearthed interview with South Atlanta Magazine from January 2021.