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  • Gabrielle Hendricks

Scandal in Deep South

Gabrielle Hendricks


In 2020, during the election year, former U.S. President Donald Trump accused the state of Georgia of miscounting votes, claiming that he won the election against President Joseph Biden. According to a 100-page indictment, Trump and 18 of his allies participated in illegal schemes to overturn the election results. These schemes include coercing lawmakers and officials to find him enough votes to win the state and ignore the will of the voters by appointing a new slate of college electors who would agree with Trump.


District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, Fani Willis drafted up the indictment against Trump. On August 24, 2023, Trump and his allies surrendered to the indictment in Fulton County. This resulted in Trump’s infamous mugshot of 2023. Despite the countless allegations, Trump maintained that he was innocent of all charges.


The case against Trump’s election interference in Fulton County was buffeted on Jan. 8 by Michael Roman, a former Trump campaign official. Roman sent in files, accusing Willis of having a romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who she hired to help her in the Trump indictment. Roman insisted that Willis be removed from Trump’s case due to these claims. On Feb 2. Willis and Wade confessed to having a relationship, but claimed it only started after she hired him.


On Feb. 15 and Feb. 16, an evidentiary hearing was conducted to investigate the claims made by Roman and how they connect to possible corruption on Willis’ and Wade’s part in Trump’s indictment. The focus of the hearing is the expensive vacations Willis and Wade took together.


Bank records that were filed by Wade’s wife in a divorce proceeding allegedly showed Willis as a travel companion on two (known) trips whilst the Trump investigation was active. Roman’s filing claimed that Willis was financially benefiting from Wade, as Wade was being paid over $650,000 in public funds which were allegedly being used to pay for the vacations they took together. The allegations made by Roman were based on claims that were said to be in Wade’s divorce records which were sealed. The records were unsealed on Jan. 22 and had no mention of Willis.


In September 2023, Wade’s wife filed a motion to reopen discovery, accusing Wade of having an expensive lifestyle and spending substantial amounts of money on trips with Willis during the Trump investigation.

Willis’ attorney also made a filing, accusing Wade’s wife of trying to interfere with Willis’ case against Trump. There is obviously bad blood between the two women, which requires further investigation.

 

During the now ongoing Georgia Senate committee hearings against Willis, further claims about the corruption of Wade’s finances were revealed by Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant. On Mar. 6, Merchant alleged that Wade was paid double the salary of his other colleagues and that many of his billing accounts for hours worked were unaccounted for. Due to Wade’s salary coming from public funds, these allegations are related to the crime of taxpayer fraud.


There were also claims made by Merchant that could prove Willis and Wade lied about not having a relationship prior to her hiring him. Merchant alleges that according to Willis’ and Wade’s cell phone data, Wade visited Willis’ home in the middle of the night before hiring him for the Trump case.


The allegations and evidence against Willis and Wade that has accumulated since the beginning of the year are shocking and has started discourse about the credibility of cases made against Trump since he left office. Even if Trump and his allies are guilty of election corruption in Georgia, Willis should be removed from the case.


The allegations and building evidence against Willis have caused the public to lose faith in the legal system. If she is kept on the case despite the mounting evidence against her, it would cause further distrust and in the U.S. legal system.

 

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