Prosecutor in Donald Trump's Georgia election trial tries to block divorce lawyer's testimony

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Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor in the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump, is trying to stop his divorce lawyer from being questioned about his romantic relationship with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

Wade urged Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee on Thursday not to hold a confidential meeting with his lawyer, arguing that prying more information from Terrence Bradley, his former law partner and divorce lawyer, about the relationship with Willis would violate attorney-client privilege.

Questions about Wade's relationship with Willis are key to an effort by Trump and several co-defendants in the case to disqualify Willis and Wade, which would upend the trial and potentially postpone it until after the November election.

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 16: Witness Terrence Bradley looks on from the witness stand during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 16, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. Judge Scott McAfee is hearing testimony as to whether DA Fani Willis and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade should be disqualified from the case for allegedly lying about a personal relationship. (Photo by Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images)

Judge McAfee held two days of hearings about the relationship on Feb. 15 and 16 to consider the motion to disqualify Willis, Wade and the whole district attorney's office. But Bradley repeatedly refused to testify because of attorney-client privilege.

McAfee said he would meet alone with Bradley to review the evidence from Wade's consultations with Bradley as part of his divorce proceedings confidentially. Trump and his co-defendants argued the evidence would show Wade began his relationship with Willis before he was hired to work on the investigation into Trump and his allies effort to overturn his 2020 loss in Georgia, not afterwards as he and Willis have claimed. Thus, the defendants argue, Willis and Wade would have committed perjury by lying about the relationship and that attorney-client privilege can’t be used to cover up a crime.

McAfee scheduled the hearing for Monday, Fox News reported, based on anonymous sources.

But Wade argued against any meeting between McAfee and Bradley.

“The Court should not conduct the examination under any circumstance,” Wade said in a 12-page filing, underlining and putting the words in boldface type.

Willis and Wade gave riveting testimony detailing their relationship

Wade and Willis each testified at last week's hearing. They said the romantic relationship began in spring 2022 and ended in summer 2023, and Willis repaid Wade in cash for trips they took together to Belize, Aruba and California.

But Trump and co-defendants including former White House aide Mike Roman contend they have evidence the relationship started as early as 2019. The defendants contend that Willis profited unethically from hiring Wade for the case and should be removed.

Bradley testified that he had no personal knowledge of when the relationship began. But defense lawyers led by Ashleigh Merchant, who represents Roman, argued that Bradley's text messages might reveal more. McAfee planned to review the text messages.

Willis testified at the hearing that Trump and his co-defendants were trying to distract from the reason for the trial.

"These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020,” Willis said, gesturing to the defense table. “I’m not on trial no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.”

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 15: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. Judge Scott McAfee is hearing testimony as to whether Willis and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade should be disqualified from the case for allegedly lying about a personal relationship. (Photo by Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images)

Wade calls request for divorce lawyer's evidence 'intrusive'

Wade argued in his Thursday filing that he and Willis already revealed "intrusive" details about their personal relationship but there is no reason to remove them from the case.

“The Defendants sought to introduce intrusive and legally irrelevant personal details of multiple people’s lives for the world to watch unfold in real time, but still no credible evidence exists in the record to support their tenuous claims,” Wade said in his filing.

“If the Court were now to disregard ‘the most sacred of all legally recognized privileges’ whose ‘preservation is essential to the just and orderly operation of our legal system,’ it would be a step too far, and Special Prosecutor Wade is constrained to object,” Wade added.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wade tries to stop divorce lawyer testimony about Willis in Trump case