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A Fulton County, Georgia, commissioner has responded to damning reports involving potential “misuse” of funds by District Attorney Fanil Willis in relation to her case against former President Donald Trump and is now conducting an investigation.
The Daily Caller reported Friday that County Commissioner Bob Ellis requested “Willis disclose information relating to her potential ‘misuse’ of county funds in her decision to appoint her alleged lover, Nathan Wade, as outside counsel in the case against former President Donald Trump.”
Bank statements, presented in a court filing on Friday, showed that Wade had acquired two airline tickets under Willis’ name, corroborating the claims made in a motion by a co-defendant of Trump. This motion asserted that she had benefited from the “lucrative” contract she had awarded Wade, which included trips to these destinations. Ellis emphasized that “all Fulton County citizens and taxpayers deserve clear and truthful answers” from Willis, who, he previously noted, has been somewhat uncooperative in responding to questions from commissioners, the outlet reported.
He noted further that it will “ultimately be decided in a court proceeding” whether information that is already public will serve to disqualify Willis from continuing to lead the prosecution against Trump, adding that “the average person likely concludes that something isn’t right with all of this.”
Willis faced allegations of partaking in cruises and holidays financed by Wade, funded through county funds obtained from his role as a special prosecutor in Willis’ case against Trump. Wade has accumulated legal fees exceeding $650,000 from the county since the beginning of 2022, the Daily Caller noted.
In the letter, Ellis requested that Willis furnish invoices for special prosecutors’ expenses and fees, along with their contracts with the office, payments received from the office, and the “professional experience” of each special prosecutor engaged by the office. Additionally, Ellis sought information on the “source of funding for any payments to special prosecutors” from January 1, 2021, up to the present, with a deadline for submission by February 2, the outlet noted.
Also, Willis was directed to provide info regarding “laws, rules, or regulations” applying to a district attorney’s choice of a special prosecutor.
“Separate from any potential inquiry by the State of Georgia, this situation requires confirmation of whether County funds provided for the operation of your office and its prosecutorial function were used in an appropriate manner and whether any payments of County funds to Mr. Wade were converted to your personal gain in the form of subsidized travel or other gifts,” the letter to Willis said, per the DC.
Ellis previously verified to the DCNF that Willis did not seek the Fulton County Board of Commissioners’ consent before appointing Wade. However, he acknowledged that whether the board’s approval was necessary might be a subject open to legal interpretation.
“There was an ask of her about how much money was being spent on the Trump proceedings,” he told the outlet. “Essentially, the answer was, you know, well…’Lady Justice isn’t on a budget.’”
As recently as May 2023, her office paid the attorney considered Georgia’s top racketeering expert, John Floyd, only $200/hour, while Wade — who reportedly has little to no experience prosecuting RICO cases — was earning $250/hour, per billing statements obtained by the DCNF.
— Katelynn Richardson (@katesrichardson) January 16, 2024
Commissioner Bridget Thorne confirmed to the outlet that “approval for outside counsel never came through us.”
“Our County attorney tells us that she doesn’t believe Fani Willis needed our approval,” she said.
BREAKING: District Attorney Fani Willis’ alleged romantic partner Nathan Wade paid for plane tickets to Miami and San Francisco in her name, bank statements contained in a Friday court filing made by Wade’s wife in their divorce case show. pic.twitter.com/hc4pC48Kdz
— Katelynn Richardson (@katesrichardson) January 19, 2024