But in a court filing Friday, Wade's onetime friend and lawyer could testify that Wade and Willis began a romantic relationship two years earlier than they admitted and before the DA hired him to lead the Trump investigation. Also, bank records show Wade allegedly paid for additional trips the prosecutors took together, undermining the claim that the couple split their travel expenses roughly.
Billing more than $728,000 in legal fees for his work, Willis and Wade enriched themselves in the case, court documents said.
“This enrichment is a form of self-dealing that creates a personal interest in this case,” the filing said.
“In other words, the more work done on the case (regardless of justice) they get paid more,” the movement said. “The more they fight against Mr. Roman's motions, the more they get paid. The more they refuse to dismiss unindicted defendants, the more money they make. And, of course, the more money the special counsel makes, the more the district attorney gets the financial benefits. .
Who picked up the tab?
Trips is at the center of the charges against the two prosecutors because Trips alleged that Wade used taxpayer money to influence his employer, Willis, who made hiring decisions.
Credit card receipts for plane tickets, revealed as part of Wade's divorce filing, first raised questions about the nature of their relationship.
Wade paid them extensive trips to Napa Valley, Miami, and Aruba.
In his affidavit, Wade said financial responsibility for his and Willis' trips was “divided roughly equally” between the two of them. He attached receipts showing he purchased two $697 plane tickets for a trip to Miami.
But the document filed Friday indicates that Wade spent thousands of dollars more than previously known and included two previously undisclosed locations — the Bahamas in late December 2022 to Belize in March 2023.
It is unclear whether Willis reimbursed Wade for some travel expenses.
'Direct from Wade'
The filing also addressed whether Willis and Wade were truthful about when their relationship began.
In a DA's court filing last week, Wade said he and Willis have been friends since 2019 and only developed a personal relationship in 2022 — after Willis hired him.
But in the new court filing, Atlanta attorney Terrence Bradley, who was once Wade's business partner and briefly represented him in his divorce, “can confirm that Willis entered into an agreement with Wade after Wade and Willis began a romantic relationship.” Bradley received the information “directly from Wade … personally as a friend of Wade before Wade decided to file for divorce,” the motion said.
Bradley did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The DA's office declined to comment.
In his motion, Merchant said what Wade said in his deposition was inadmissible hearsay and required further investigation.
“Since Willis and Wade were not open about their relationship in the first instance, there is no reason to believe they are now telling the truth,” Merchant's motion said.
Motions to disqualify Willis by Roman and other defendants, including Trump, have provided the court with sufficient information about Willis' conflict of interest and forensic misconduct.
The DA's office said the requests should be dismissed without requiring an evidentiary hearing scheduled for next Thursday by Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee. The office later filed a motion to quash subpoenas issued to Willis, Wade, other members of the office and Wade's former law partners. A hearing in that short case has been adjourned until Monday.
The DA's response, filed a week ago, said the merchant's attempt to disqualify the DA's office was “not an example of vehement argument, or a good-faith attempt to create a record on a controversial legal issue — it's a ticket to the circus.”
'The damage is already done'
Roman's motion also criticizes Willis for comments he made outside court during a speech last month at Big Bethel AME Church. It highlights comments the DA has made about the case over the years to several publications, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. And to the authors of the recently published book: “Find Me The Votes: A Hard-charging Georgia Prosecutor, a rogue President and the Plot to Steal an American Election.”
The motion said Willis' comments were part of a plan to “tear down defendants' pretrial constitutional protections.”
“The damage has already been done,” the movement said. “That's why there are specific rules that prevent prosecutors, in particular, from making extrajudicial statements to the news media that are designed to increase public condemnation of the accused before the trial begins.”
Willis' office argued before the hearing that Roman's strategy “recommends an orientation toward public narratives as opposed to legal resolution.” And, for decades, Georgia's courts have held that personal relationships between attorneys do not constitute impermissible conflicts of interest.
In moving the murder merchant's subpoenas, “Roman is casting as wide a net as possible in hopes of finding some information to support the allegations he's already made.”
The DA's office said the requested testimony from Willis, Wade and others was “designed to attract more breathless media coverage and further intrude into the private lives of the prosecution team in an effort to personally embarrass and harass the district attorney.”
Roman's latest filing comes as Willis' actions escalate. On Friday, the Senate Special Committee on Investigations held its first meeting at the Georgia Capitol to examine the allegations against Willis.
Chairman Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, has promised to conduct the investigation in a bipartisan manner — despite concerns from Democrats that the investigation will be political drama.
“We put both parties on this board for a reason,” Cowsert said Friday. “It is our validity that the public understands that this is not any kind of political witch hunt. It is a search for truth.