Fani Willis, Trump prosecutor, defeats her rival in DA primary in Fulton


Nathan Wade “shook up” revelers at Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ primary victory party on Tuesday when he strolled into the event with a smile.

Wade, the former special prosecutor whose love affair with Willis led to his having to withdraw from the historic criminal case against former President Donald Trump, was among those who gathered at an event room in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood to celebrate the district attorney's landslide victory .

“Well, I'm shocked,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Tamar Hallerman wrote on X after spotting Wade in top gear.

Willis is facing multiple investigations into the use of taxpayer money at the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. ERIK S LESSER/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Former Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade arrives before Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks after winning the Democratic primary, Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Georgia. AP

Wade came in “with a smile,” she added.

The 52-year-old prosecutor's victory over attorney and author Christian Wise Smith comes as she faces multiple investigations by state and federal lawmakers over her alleged misuse of taxpayer funds and her relationship with Wade.

“We can't keep turning a blind eye to what's going on in this office,” Wise Smith argued on the campaign trail Monday.

“Chaos. Corruption. It's time for us in Fulton County to stand up and take back our justice system,” he said in his appeal to voters.

Willis, who was first elected to lead the Atlanta-area DA's office in 2020, experienced a dramatic rise in prominence after she led the historic criminal investigation and subsequent indictment of former President Donald Trump for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to repeal the Election in the Peach State in 2020 had results.

In a recent three-minute campaign ad, Willis made no mention of the Trump case. She advocated prosecuting “gangs and violent criminals.”

“We have seen the third-largest drop in crime in America,” she claimed in the campaign ad.

Willis, who was first elected to lead the Atlanta-area district attorney's office in 2020, saw her profile rise dramatically after leading the historic criminal investigation. REUTERS
Christian Wise Smith lost his bid to unseat Willis on Tuesday. The Atlanta Press Club / Facebook

She predicted Monday that she would “win big” at Wise Smith despite the misconduct allegations against her.

According to the Associated Press, about 55% of ballots had been counted as of 8 p.m. Tuesday, and Willis had nearly 90% of the vote.

In January, nearly five months after the indictment of Trump and his 18 co-defendants – four of whom have pleaded guilty – in their sprawling extortion case, allegations surfaced that Willis had an “inappropriate” romantic relationship with Wade, whom she entrusted with handling the Election case commissioned in 2020.

In January, nearly five months after Trump and his 18 co-defendants – four of whom have pleaded guilty – were indicted in their sprawling racketeering case, allegations emerged that Willis had an “inappropriate” romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor she hired to handle the 2020 election case.

In February, Willis admitted to having a “personal relationship” with Wade and her lover was forced to resign from the Trump case by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.

What you should know about the trial of District Attorney Fani Willis

  • District Attorney Fani Willis of Fulton County, Georgia, is accused of misusing state and federal funds and also having an “inappropriate” relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade.
  • Willis admitted to having a “personal relationship” with Wade, but said it only became romantic after 2022 due to the trial against former President Donald Trump.
  • Willis hired Wade to handle the Trump case and paid him $654,000 in 2022, according to Trump co-defendant Michael Roman.
  • Trump and his co-defendants are seeking to expel Willis from the case and drop all charges related to the state's sweeping RICO racketeering law.
  • The defense has presented dozens of pings from Wade's cellphone that placed it at Willis' rented apartment before 2022. A former friend of Willis' who owned the apartment testified that she saw the two “hugging” and “kissing” in 2019.
  • On March 15, a judge ruled that Willis can remain in office and continue the election interference trial in Georgia against Trump and his co-defendants for allegedly attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election – if Wade resigns.

Wade has collected nearly $654,000 in legal fees from the Fulton County District Attorney's Office since 2022 for his work on the Trump case and reportedly paid for several lavish trips he took with Willis during his employment in her office.

On Capitol Hill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) is investigating whether Willis misused federal funds she received from the Justice Department during her investigation into Trump.

Willis has accused Jordan of trying to “interfere in a criminal investigation” and of being “illegitimate” in his position.

Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are conducting a separate investigation into whether Fulton County district attorneys misused federal funds.

Willis will face Republican challenger Courtney Kramer in the November general election. AP

At the state level, a Georgia Senate special committee is investigating possible conflicts of interest and misuse of public funds by Willis related to her relationship with Wade.

Willis has said she will not testify as part of the state Senate investigation, calling into question the legislature's authority to subpoena her.

Willis will face Republican challenger Courtney Kramer in the November general election.

The district attorney has called Kramer “unqualified” for the role.

Fulton County Chief Judge Scott McAfee, who was randomly assigned to preside over the Trump case last year, also defeated his opponent in a nonpartisan election on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old lawyer was appointed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp in December 2022 to fill a vacant judicial position and will now serve a full four-year term starting in January.

McAfee beat civil rights attorney and media commentator Robert Patillo. He had received strong cross-party support to retain his seat on the bench before the election.

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