Judge Allows Fani Willis To Stay on Trump Georgia Indictment as Lead Prosecutor Resigns

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A superior court judge ruled on Friday that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) may continue prosecuting former President Donald Trump for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, so long as the special lead prosecutor she appointed steps down. Hours after the Fulton County Superior Court judge issued the ruling, Nathan Wade — the lead prosecutor that Willis appointed and with whom she had a romantic relationship with  that sparked a conflict-of-interest controversy — resigned

On Aug. 14, a grand jury indicted Trump on 13 charges for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. Trump’s charges were part of a 98-page indictment that came after two years of investigation by Willis’ office, which total 41 counts spread among 18 defendants in addition to the former president. Some of his closest allies — and staunch election deniers — were also indicted, including Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani, attorney John Eastman and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. 

The myriad charges against Trump and his allies centered around violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and also included multiple counts of conspiracy to commit forgery, false statements, filing false documents, impersonating a public officer and a number of other similar charges. 

But the effort to prosecute Trump hit a snafu on Jan. 8, when Michael Roman, a former top Trump campaign official and one of the other co-defendants in the Georgia indictment, filed a motion to disqualify Willis and her prosecution team because of an alleged affair with Wade. The filing alleged that Willis engaged in a personal relationship with Wade, who was hired and paid as a special prosecutor to work specifically on the Trump prosecution, and that she personally benefited from their relationship by joining him on trips that he paid for. 

During a Feb. 15 hearing over the allegations raised in the filing, Willis took to the witness stand and fiercely defended herself. “You’ve been intrusive into people’s personal lives,” Willis said to Roman’s attorney, according to the Washington Post. “You’re confused. You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I’m not on trial. No matter how hard you try to put me on trial.”

In his resignation letter, Wade wrote that the “furtherance of the rule of law and democracy is and has always been the North Star of our combined efforts in the prosecution of those who are alleged to have attempted to overthrow the results of Georgia’s 2020 Presidential Election.” He added that he’s resigning “in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public, and to move this case forward as quickly as possible.”

Willis accepted Wade’s resignation and, in a written response, complemented his “professionalism and dignity you have shown over the last 865 days, as you have endured threats against you and your family, as well as unjustified attacks in the media and in court on your reputation as a lawyer.”

Read the judge’s order on Willis’ disqualification here.

Read Nathan Wade’s letter of resignation here.

Read Fani Willis’ letter accepting Wade’s resignation here.