Fulton County DA Fani Willis Calls Attorney’s Claims About Nathan Wade ‘Lies’ During Heated Testimony

fani willis testimony

YouTube DA Fani Willis.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis repeatedly accused the attorney questioning her about her relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade of lying about her during heated testimony on February 15.

“It’s ridiculous to me that you lied,” Willis said at one point, referring to Ashleigh Merchant, the attorney for Michael Roman, a defendant in the Trump RICO case that Willis filed into the 2020 presidential election.

“In November 2021, I hired him (Wade). I don’t consider our relationship to be romantic” until early 2022, Willis testified. Asked whether she told the other people on the Trump prosecution team that she had started dating Wade, she said, “I never tell people at work who I am dating.”

Merchant has filed motions seeking to have Willis and Wade thrown off the Trump case because they are involved in a personal relationship. During the motion hearing, Merchant is trying to establish that Willis received financial benefit from her appointment of Wade as special prosecutor in November 2021, since his firm received about $650,000 in public money. His contract as special prosecutor was renewed after they admit to dating, however. Willis said she went to Aruba, the Bahamas, California’s wine country, and Belize with Wade.

“I’m not going to emasculate a Black man,” Wade testified at one point about Wade, when asked a question by Trump’s attorney Steve Sadow, who has joined the motion seeking to disqualify Willis.

Before Willis took the stand, her former friend, Robin Bryant Yeartie, testified that Willis and Wade started dating in 2019, which contradicts the timeline Willis and Wade gave in a previous court filing and in testimony on Thursday. Both say they started dating in 2022, after Willis named Wade as the Trump special prosecutor. Wade then took the stand and reiterated that point. Wade testified that Willis reimbursed him for trips they took together in cash after he paid for them using his business credit card.

Willis then took the stand, and the testimony repeatedly became heated as she accused Merchant of lying about her and being dishonest. She also said she reimbursed Wade in cash. Willis said she didn’t always pay him back for lunch or dinner, but she said that was not “gifts.” She was asked why she did not disclose any gifts from Wade in ethics forms.

She said there was no ledger. “This is friends handing money off to each other,” Willis said.

“You have been intrusive into people’s personal lives,” Willis told Merchant. “You think I am on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I object to you getting any personal records of mine.”

Here’s what you need to know:

DA Fani Willis Testified, ‘Mr. Wade Is a Southern Gentleman. Me Not So Much’

At one point, Willis said to Merchant that she was “pointing out how dishonest you were with the court on Monday. I am surprised the hearing continued. But since it did here I am.”

Merchant asked whether she had spoken to Wade about the situation. “I probably had some choice words about some of the things that you said that were dishonest within this,” Willis retorted, adding, “Mr. Wade is a southern gentleman. Me not so much.”

She said she “skimmed” Merchant’s motion, adding, “I probably said some choice things to him about the lies that were told and printed in the media.” She added that it “seems today, a lawyer writes a lie, and it’s printed.”

Willis said Wade had sent her sermons. “He did it to be kind.”

Willis said she first met Wade at a conference in 2019 and told Merchant, “You tried to implicate that I slept with him at that conference. I find that to be really offensive. Mr. Wade was my teacher. It’s highly offensive when someone lies on you.”

At another point, she said, “Ms. Merchant’s interests are contrary to democracy, not mine.”

When Merchant asked Willis whether she started dating Wade shortly after that 2019 conference, Willis said that was “one of your lies.”

She acknowledged that Wade visited her at a condo but did not spend the night. She said she believed she and Wade “broke bread some time in 2019.” Asked who paid, she testified, “We didn’t say, ‘Oh the bill is $102. I give $52, you do. I caught the bill, he caught the bill, whatever.”

Asked whether she ever gave Wade money through Cash App, Willis said, “I only gave him cash a few times.” She said she gave him cash four times, at most $2,500.

She said she didn’t have checks.

Merchant said she had no written proof of reimbursing Wade? “So I have probably some transactions in Belize. I probably spent $500 on my card.” She said she paid for the tickets in Belize and minor expenses in Aruba. As for the two cruises they took together, Willis said she gave him the money before they left.

Willis was asked whether her bank accounts would reflect that she withdrew cash from any of her bank accounts during this time frame, “Of course, I drew money from throughout that time period.”

Fani Willis Answered Questions About Her Friend, Trips With Nathan Wade & Reimbursements

Willis said she met Bryant Yeartie in college, partying together. They reconnected about eight to 10 years ago. “I think she betrayed our friendship,” she testified.

She confirmed she was friends with Bryant Yeartie in 2019 and 2020. She testified that she moved into Bryant Yeartie’s condo in April 2021. She said her life was “being threatened regularly. My father urged me to leave our home.”

Willis testified that Wade had visited her at the condo, and no other prosecutor involved in the case had. She said they were alone together at the condo before November 2021.

Willis said her dad was “begging me to leave the house. He was afraid for me and his grandchildren.”

She said she would pay Bryant Yeartie rent mostly via cash app.

Merchant said Willis had a tax lien at one point, but she did not use the cash she had to pay it off. “I went shopping too when I didn’t pay it off,” Willis testified.

She said she was not friends with Wade’s former law partner Terrence Bradley but might have text messaged him in group messages with Wade. Merchant and Sadow wanted to call Bradley to speak about Willis’s relationship timeline with Wade, but he is raising concerns about attorney-client privilege because he once acted as Wade’s divorce attorney.

Willis testified that she took Wade to Tennessee for the day in April 2022 once, and they “might have stayed the night. I’m not sure.”

Asked when they started dating, Willis said, “Right around then.”

She said they went to Miami and spent the night “one night so we wouldn’t miss the ship.” Asked who paid for the hotel, she said, ‘I don’t remember.” She said they went on cruises twice, once with his mother and once on a New Year’s Eve trip.

Willis said she paid for it herself by reimbursing Wade.

“I don’t consider that he ever took me anyplace,” she said. “I took him to Belize.” Willis said it was Wade’s 50th birthday.

“He tells me how much it is and then I give him the money back. I didn’t ever make him produce receipts to me,” Willis testified.

Willis said she did not know how Wade paid for the trips. He would call his cruise agent. “I gave him his money before we ever went on that trip,” Willis said about one cruise.

Asked where she would get the cash to reimburse Wade, she said that she kept it in a lockbox and always keeps “cash in the house” on the advice of her father.

“If you’re a woman, and you go on a date with a man, you better have $200 in your pocket,” she said.

“I am sure the source of the money is the work, sweat, and tears of me,” Willis said.

When they went to California, she said he paid for plane tickets and the hotel, and then she “paid for a bunch of stuff. Wine tours,” a bottle of wine, and a place where people do wine pairings.

“I might have taken like $750 in cash on me,” Willis said.

She said they drove to South Carolina and met her sister for lunch.

Willis said she was not aware whether she was supposed to disclose the personal relationship with Fulton County.

Asked whether her security team had taken her and Wade places together, she said they had never taken him “from any place where I lived.” Willis said her security team may have taken her to lunch with Wade but “that is a very rare occasion.”

Willis said her personal relationship with Wade “ended this year,” saying, “Mr. Wade is my friend right now.”

She said he has “been my friend since 2020. He started as a mentor and a professional colleague.”

She added, “My respect for him has grown over these seven weeks of attacks.”

Willis said she and Wade broke up in the late summer of 2023. Because Wade is a “man, he probably would say June or July. I would say we had a tough conversation in August. Men end relationships when physical intimacy ends, and women end relationships when that tough conversation takes place.”

“We would have brutal arguments about the fact that I am your equal,” Willis testified. “There was tension always in our relationship. I don’t need anybody to foot my bills.”

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