Fulton County hearing live updates: Fani Willis doesn't take stand on Day 2

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Scott McAfee, the judge overseeing former President Donald Trump's Georgia election interference case, is set to hear arguments over motions to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, primarily over accusations from Trump co-defendant Michael Roman that she benefited financially from a "personal, romantic relationship" with prosecutor Nathan Wade, who she hired for the case.

Willis and Wade, in a court filing, admitted to the relationship but said it "does not amount to a disqualifying conflict of interest" and that the relationship "has never involved direct or indirect financial benefit to District Attorney Willis."


Latest Developments


Feb 16, 9:27 AM

Former associate of Wade expected to testify next


Less than 10 minutes after the hearing started, the court is in recess until Judge McAfee hears from both parties.

Terrance Bradley, a former business associate of Nathan Wade, is expected to testify but he is not in court yet.

Bradley briefly testified Thursday but the issue of attorney-client privilege came up and he was dismissed.

Attorneys are currently going over the questions for Bradley that won't violate privilege.


Feb 16, 9:19 AM

Willis does not take stand on Day 2 of hearing


After a dramatic and heated Day 1, DA Fani Willis is not taking the stand for Day 2 of the hearing.

The state told the court they have no further questions for the district attorney.

Multiple attorneys for defendants in the case, including Trump's attorney Steve Sadow and Michael Roman's attorney Ashleigh Merchant, are in the courtroom, but Willis is not present.

Judge Scott McAfee said his goal is to finish up the evidentiary hearing today.


Feb 15, 5:37 PM

Court adjourns, Willis will be back on stand Friday


DA Fani Willis stepped off the stand for the day following more than two hours of highly charged testimony.

The DA is scheduled to be back on the stand tomorrow morning for the hearing's second day.

Judge McAfee reviewed other motions for Day 2, then adjourned the hearing until Friday.

Willis did not respond to questions from ABC News after leaving the courtroom.


Feb 15, 5:21 PM

Willis questioned by lawyers for other co-defendants

After Trump attorney Steve Sadow wrapped up his questioning of DA Fani Willis, the attorneys for other co-defendants got their chance -- but the judge appeared to grow frustrated as defense attorneys attempted to find new lines of questioning.

Allyn Stockton, representing co-defendant Rudy Giuliani, asked Willis about contracts given to Wade's law partners.

"Did Wade's law partners, Bradley and Campbell, also get contracts with the DA's office?" Stockton asked.

"Yes but only for a short time after I first became DA. Then I let them go when my office was properly staffed," she replied.

Harry MacDougald, representing co-defendant Jeffrey Clark, briefly questioned Willis about her financial disclosure form before the judge told him to sit down.

"I don't believe she answered that question, Your Honor," MacDougald said.

"She answered as to specific individual gifts," Judge McAfee, appearing more frustrated, responded. "And you're not listening to my answer either. So we're done."


Feb 15, 4:56 PM

Willis says she didn't consider relationship romantic before hiring

Pressed further by Trump attorney Steve Sadow, DA Fani Willis testified regarding prosecutor Nathan Wade that she did "not consider our relationship to have become romantic until 2022."

"I don't consider my relationship to be romantic with him before that," she said of Wade's hiring.

Sadow suggested that Wade and Willis have not been truthful about the timing.

PHOTO: Attorney Fani Willis speaks from a witness stand during a hearing in the case of State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Feb. 15, 2024.  (Alyssa Pointer, Pool/Reuters)
PHOTO: Attorney Fani Willis speaks from a witness stand during a hearing in the case of State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Feb. 15, 2024. (Alyssa Pointer, Pool/Reuters)

When he asked Willis who she told about the relationship, Sadow suggested her "failure" to notify other members of team suggests that the relationship "was not as its been characterized to the court" and "that it started earlier than what they say."

Willis said her and Wade were friends since at least 2020.

"I want to be clear, because my credibility is being evaluated," she said.


Feb 15, 4:49 PM

Willis testifies early relationship with Wade wasn't romantic

DA Fani Willis was pressed repeatedly by Trump attorney Steve Sadow about whether Willis had a romantic relationship with Wade prior to November 2021.

“I'm asking you whether or not prior to Nov. 1 of 2021, there was a romantic relationship with Mr. Wade?” Sadow asked.

“I didn't consider my relationship with him to be romantic before that," Willis said.

Sadow asked Willis whether Wade visited the condo leased by her friend Robin Yeartie. Willis previously said she took over Yeartie’s lease at one point and paid her rent.

“Would you give us an approximation of how many times Mr. Wade visited you at the condo between the time you moved in and prior to November 2020?” Sadow asked.

“I don't think often, but I don't -- I don't want to speculate,” Willis replied.


Feb 15, 4:35 PM

Trump attorney questions Willis in tense exchange

Former President Trump's attorney Steven Sadow is now questioning Fani Willis on the stand.

As Sadow stepped up to question her, he started with a veiled dig at the DA.

"I'm going to try to ask you questions that you can actually answer without having to explain, OK?" Sadow said.

"Yes, sir. My comprehension skills are pretty good. So we should do all right," Willis replied.

"We shall soon see," Sadow said.

Sadow began questioning Willis about her condo, which Wade testified earlier that he visited before being hired.

At one point when Sadow raised his voice, Willis said, "You don't have to yell at me."


Feb 15, 4:38 PM

Judge urges decorum after heated moment


Following a brief recess, the hearing resumed with Judge Scott McAfee urging decorum following the shouting match.

"I advise everyone -- this being a room mostly full of lawyers -- I urge everyone to keep those principles in line and not talk over each other," the judge told the court.

But as Willis' heated testimony continued, the judge threatened to strike Willis's testimony.

"I'm going to have to caution you -- you have to listen to the questions asked, and if this happens again and again, I'm going to have no choice but to strike your testimony," the judge told the DA.


Feb 15, 7:04 PM

'You lied,' Willis tells defense attorney who filed allegations


DA Fani Willis heatedly told defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant "You lied" just before a shouting match broke out.

"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," Willis said forcefully from the stand.

Speaking earlier about prosecutor Nathan Wade, Willis said she and Wade had a "tough conversation" in August after their relationship ended, but that her respect for him has grown "over the seven weeks of these attacks."

That prompted an objection from Trump attorney Steve Sadow.

Willis than answered by saying "You lied" to Merchant, and a shouting match ensued between Sadow, Merchant, Willis and the judge.

The court then went into a brief recess.


Feb 15, 3:52 PM

Willis testifies that she paid for trips in cash

DA Fani Willis pointedly testified that she paid prosecutor Nathan Wade for the cruise they took and Aruba trip they went on -- in cash -- before they even went.

"Did you pay him back? For the cruise and for Aruba?“ asked defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

“Yeah, I gave him his money before we ever went on that trip," Willis replied.

"And so when you got cash to pay him back on these trips, did you go to the ATM?" asked Merchant.

"No," said Willis.

"So the cash that you would pay him, you wouldn't get it out of the bank?" Merchant asked.

"I have money in my house," Willis replied. “For many, many years I have kept money in my house."

"I just have cash in my house," Willis continued. "I don't have as much today as I would normally have, but I'm building back up now."

Willis testified that her father says, "As a woman you should always ... you should have at least six months in cash at your house at all time."

"I don't know why this old black man feels like that. But he does," she said.

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