Georgia DA Fani Willis Paid Nathan Wade Back for Trips in ‘Cash,’ Wade Testifies

nathan wade

YouTube/Getty Nathan Wade and Fani Willis.

Trump special prosecutor Nathan Wade testified on February 15 that Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis always paid him back for trips they took together but did so with “cash.”

In his testimony, Wade also reiterated what he said in a sworn affidavit filed by Willis: That his romantic relationship with Willis started in 2022, after she appointed him special prosecutor in November 2021, a position that resulted in his firm being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money.

Wade’s testimony came after a former friend of Willis’s named Robin Bryant Yeartie testified that Wade and Willis actually started their relationship in 2019. She said she saw them hugging and kissing and that Willis personally told her about the relationship.

The warring testimony came during a motion hearing in which a defendant in the Trump RICO case, Michael Roman, is attempting to get Willis and Wade disqualified from the prosecution, accusing Willis of profiting from the relationship because she went on trips with Wade that he paid for using his business credit card. Willis said previously that the pair split costs evenly.

Willis then took the stand and in heated testimony accused Roman’s attorney of lying about her and insisting she reimbursed Wade with cash for trips. She said the romantic relationship started in 2022. Read about her testimony here.

Here’s what you need to know:

Nathan Wade Said His Travel With DA Fani Willis ‘Was Split Roughly Evenly’

In his testimony, Wade said first met Willis at a judicial conference in 2019, and they talked on the phone multiple times after that point. But he insisted that his romantic relationship with her did not begin until early 2022, which is what he said in an affidavit that Willis filed with the court. Asked if he was saying he wasn’t in a relationship with Willis prior to November 2021, when he was named special prosecutor in the Trump case by her, he responded, “Correct.”

Wade insisted that the couple split travel expenses despite Wade’s business credit card documents showing him paying for flights for Willis.

“Our travel was split roughly evenly. If you see where I booked for a flight with my credit card, what you don’t see is that she covered her own flight with reimbursement to me,” Wade testified.

Wade said Willis paid him back in cash. “It was cash. She didn’t give me any checks,” Wade testified. He said he did not include the vacations as deductions on his taxes.

Asked whether he had ever used the credit card of his former law partner Terrence Bradley, he said no. Bradley was scheduled to testify at the hearing but has raised concerns about attorney-client privilege that may bar him from speaking about Willis’s and Wade’s relationship because he once acted as Wade’s divorce attorney.

Wade testified that he went on a trip with Willis to Belize and to California’s wine country in 2023. He reiterated that she gave him cash for those trips. Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant said he used his business credit card to pay for Ubers as well. Wade said that a trip the pair took to Belize was a birthday trip for him; he charged the trip on his card, Merchant noted, but Wade testified that, because Willis reimbursed him in cash for all trips, he paid “nothing for that trip. Zero.”

Wade said the pair went to Napa Valley on the California trip. He said that Willis “paid for the excursions. The expenses sort of balanced out.”

He said he wouldn’t demand payment for dinner. “If you have ever spent any time with Ms. Willis, you understand she is a very independent, proud woman so she is going to insist that she carries her own weight,” Wade testified. “It actually was a point of contention between the two of us.”

Wade testified that “men, we don’t go asking back for anything so you’re not keeping a ledger for things you’re paying for and things she paid for. It was a point of contention. She was very emphatic and adamant about this very independent and strong woman thing, so she said she would pay her own way.”

Merchant also asked Wade about a trip to a cabin Tennessee. He said that he had gone to a condo with Willis but never spent the night there. He said he had not discussed his romantic relationship with Willis in social settings.

“I booked lots of cabins,” Wade said. Asked if he ever went to a cabin with Willis, Wade paused and then said, “No.” He said he had gone to Tennessee with Willis, around early 2022. “It was a day trip,” he said. “We would drive there, have lunch, drive back. The reason we would do that is because the attention. She couldn’t get any peace of mind going locally.”

“We’re private people. Our relationship wasn’t a secret; it was just private,” Wade testified.

Nathan Wade Said He Didn’t Have Receipts of Credit Card Payments for Trips, Saying They Were ‘Statements’

During the hearing, Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant started by questioning Wade about answers he gave in interrogatories in his divorce case, contrasting them to his affidavit responding to the Trump case motion, which Willis submitted to the court.

For example, Merchant noted that he had answered that he never purchased a gift for Willis in the interrogatory, updating it in 2023. Wade repeated on the witness stand, “I never purchased a gift for Ms. Willis.”

Wade’s ex wife, Joycelyn Wade, previously filed credit card documents showing Wade paying for airfare for Willis on trips they took.

Asked if he did not travel with Willis in 2021, Wade said, “That’s what I recall.” Merchant asked multiple times whether he was saying he didn’t remember or that he did not travel with her, but he kept using the same phraseology, saying, “I’m not recalling any travel with her in 2021.”

Merchant said that Wade had said in the divorce case that he had no relationship with Willis, a statement that continued in 2023, when his affidavit says he was in a relationship with her.

Wade responded that, although he wasn’t divorced yet, he considered his marriage “irretrievably broken” in 2015, so he believed that meant he did not have a relationship “with anybody in the course of my marriage.” He said he and his wife had stayed together for the kids.

Merchant said that, in the divorce interrogatories, Wade had said he did not have receipts for travel. “During the course of my marriage, I had no relationship or receipts,” he said.

However, he acknowledged using his “business credit card for everything,” including trips with Willis.

Asked if the credit card documents were not receipts, he said, “I turned over a statement.” In other words, he appeared to be testifying that he had not lied in the interrogatory when he said he had no travel receipts because he had credit card statements of travel, which he did not consider to be receipts.

The affidavit also said that Wade and Willis had not cohabited. Wade testified that he spent the night with Willis because they went on trips, saying their romantic relationship began in early 2022.

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