A judge on Monday cut off a lawyer for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as he was arguing why his client should not be deposed in a divorce hearing involving special prosecutor Nathan Wade, whom she hired to handle the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump.
Willis, who is accused of having an affair with Wade, was originally scheduled for a deposition in the case on Tuesday, but Judge Henry Thompson delayed that ruling until after Wade himself is questioned later this month.
During a brief hearing at Cobb County Superior Court Monday, Willis’ lawyer, Cinque Axam, argued that his client shouldn’t be deposed because she is too busy with other legal matters including, most importantly, the election interference case involving former President Trump.
Willis “manages a staff of 360 plus lawyers and staff. She oversees … 20,000 open cases. She coordinates, on a monthly basis, at least 500 hundred or more cases,” Axam told the judge. “Of course, the most recognizable issue is she’s dealing with the Fulton County election interference involving former President Trump.
Before Axam could go on, Judge Thompson cut him off, urging him to narrow his arguments to why Willis would lack “unique personal knowledge” in the Wade divorce case, given that she is implicated in the extramarital affair allegations.
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“Let me interrupt you. Let me ask you just to focus on the part of the law that says the proposed opponent lacks unique personal knowledge of any matter that’s relevant. Are you saying that your client lacks unique personal knowledge that could not be discovered in some other way?” Thompson asked.
Axam replied that the case had been underway for more than two years, and the deposition order had only arrived in recent weeks.
“I think there are other means by which that information can be retrieved in the case,” Axam said.
Willis was served with the subpoena to sit for a deposition in the divorce case the day that defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who represents former Trump campaign staffer and onetime White House aide Michael Roman, filed a motion alleging the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade.
Joycelyn Wade’s attorney has filed court documents showing Wade bought plane tickets in Willis’ name, arguing there “appears to be no reasonable explanation for their travels apart from a romantic relationship.”
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The affair allegations have roiled the election interference case, which charges Trump and 18 allies of working to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. Trump and others have seized on the allegations to attack the case and Wade’s qualifications as a prosecutor. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the charges politically motivated.
A lawyer for Joycelyn Wade wrote in court papers filed Friday that Nathan Wade has taken trips to San Francisco and Napa Valley, Florida, Belize, Panama and Australia and has taken Caribbean cruises since filing for divorce and that Willis “was an intended travel partner for at least some of these trips as indicated by flights he purchased for her to accompany him.”
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The filing includes credit card statements that show Nathan Wade — after he had been hired as special prosecutor — bought plane tickets in October 2022 for him and Willis to travel to Miami and bought tickets in April to San Francisco in their names.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.