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Trump Georgia case: ‘Star witness’ offers testimony about Fani Willis misconduct allegations

FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — A Georgia judge heard more testimony on Tuesday as he considers whether to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade from handling the case against former President Donald Trump and others, WSB-TV reported.

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Terrence Bradley, Wade’s former law partner and divorce attorney, returned to the stand for questioning on Tuesday afternoon. At hearings held earlier this month, he declined to talk about the relationship between Willis and Wade, citing attorney-client privilege.

Ashleigh Merchant, a lawyer representing former Trump campaign staff member Michael Roman, earlier asked a judge to remove the pair from the case, citing a “clandestine personal relationship” that she said began before Wade was hired as special prosecutor, creating a conflict of interest. Both Willis and Wade admitted to the relationship earlier this month. They testified that it began in early 2022, after Wade was hired as special prosecutor, and ended in the summer of 2023.

Court to resume Friday

Update 4:25 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Court will reconvene Friday at 1 p.m. for a hearing on the motion to disqualify Willis and Wade, Judge Scott McAfee said.

Bradley dismissed from stand

Update 4:15 p.m. EST Feb. 27: After about two hours of questioning from attorneys aiming to get Willis and Wade removed from the case, Judge Scott McAfee dismissed Bradley from the stand.

Prosecutors had no questions for Bradley.

Hearing resumes after a brief break

Update 4:05 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Attorney Christopher Kachouroff, who is representing Harrison Floyd, picked up questioning of Bradley after a brief break in court proceedings on Tuesday afternoon.

Attorneys for Jeffrey Clark, Robert Cheely question Bradley

Update 3:50 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Harry MacDougald, an attorney representing Jeffrey Clark, and Richard Rice, an attorney for Robert Cheeley, briefly questioned Bradley on the stand on Tuesday.

Rudy Giuliani’s attorney questions Bradley

Update 3:40 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Allyn Stockton, the attorney representing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, questioned Bradley after Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow, wrapped up his questioning.

Stockton focused on a motion to remove Willis from the case that Merchant sent to Bradley for review before it was filed. Bradley earlier testified that he told her to add in information about a contract that he got and said “looks good” afterward. He said that the comment was not in reference to the entirety of the motion.

Trump’s attorney questions why Bradley would speculate about start of Wade, Willis’ relationship

Update 3:30 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Steve Sadow, an attorney representing Trump, asked Bradley why he speculated on when the relationship between Wade and Willis began in text messages sent between him and Merchant.

Bradley conceded that he knew Merchant was representing Roman but maintained that the text message he sent to the attorney in which he said Willis and Wade’s relationship began earlier than they claim was speculation on his part.

“What you want the court to believe, and you want the rest of us to believe, is that for some unknown reason upon being asked a direct question about when the relationships started, you decided on your own to simply speculate and put it down in a text message as opposed to putting down what you actually knew,” Sadow said.

Bradley said he had no answer for why he speculated about the start of their relationship.

Trump’s attorney begins questioning Bradley

Update 3:15 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Merchant finished her line of questioning on Tuesday and Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow, has begun to ask Bradley about his knowledge of Wade and Willis’ relationship.

Bradley repeatedly denies having knowledge of Willis, Wade’s relationship

Update 3 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Bradley has denied several times having knowledge about Willis and Wade’s relationship.

Merchant asked him whether he previously said that Wade had a garage opener for Willis’ home. He testified that he did not remember saying as much.

“I’ve never seen a garage door opener,” he said. “I’ve never been to Ms. Willis’ house. I’ve never been, so no I do not have any personal knowledge of him having a garage door opener.”

He also said that he reviewed a motion from Merchant to dismiss Willis from the case and told her that it “looks good.” However, he clarified that he was only talking about a section about money related to his law firm and not the allegations about Willis and Wade’s relationship.

Bradley says he was speculating when he told Merchant that Willis, Wade began dating earlier than they say

Update 2:30 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Merchant asked Bradley to address a text message he sent her in which he said that Wade and Willis began dating earlier than they claimed.

“I was speculating,” he said. “I never witnessed anything, so it was speculation. I can’t tell you anything specific.”

He emphasized on the stand that he was talking about events that happened years earlier and he did not recall specifics.

“I remember him stating that at some point they were dating,” he said. “I can’t tell you what date that was. It was made in confidence. We were in the back of our office. Our offices were the only two in the back. There was no one else present. That is all I can tell you at this time.”

He did not remember how the conversation came up.

Bradley says that he does not know when Wade, Willis began dating

Update 2:10 p.m. EST Feb. 27: Bradley testified that he did not have any knowledge of when the relationship between Wade and Willis began.

Merchant indicated that Bradley told her their relationship started earlier than they testified it did, pointing to text messages sent between her and Bradley. She began to review the messages with Bradley on the stand on Tuesday.

Original report: On the stand earlier this month, both Wade and Willis denied any wrongdoing, insisting that their relationship was private but not secret and that it never benefited Willis financially. Wade said he sometimes paid for Willis’ travel expenses on his business card but added that he got reimbursement in cash.

Bradley, who was billed as a “star witness” to the allegations, is believed to have personal knowledge about when the relationship between Willis and Wade started, WSB reported. In an email obtained by CNN, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said questioning of Bradley could resume after an in-camera hearing in which he found “that the interested parties did not meet their burden of establishing that the communication(s) are covered by attorney-client privilege.”

A hearing is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. ET Tuesday, according to WSB.

Robin Yeartie, a former friend of Willis’ who had a falling out with the district attorney in 2022, told the court earlier this month that Willis and Wade began a romantic relationship after they met in 2019 and that it was ongoing in 2020 and 2021. Wade denied that he was in a relationship with anyone at the time, saying that he was battling cancer in 2020 and part of 2021, and as such had to take additional precautions to isolate during the coronavirus pandemic.

It was not immediately clear what might happen to the case against Trump and his co-defendants if Willis is disqualified. Pointing to the political and legal challenges, CNN reported that another prosecutor might not be willing to take up the case. Court proceedings could also be delayed past when voters go to the polls to pick the next president in November.

Trump has long been the frontrunner in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Authorities filed charges against the former president, Roman and 17 others accused of racketeering to keep Trump in power after he lost the 2020 presidential election. Four people — bail bondsman Scott Hall and attorneys Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis — have pleaded guilty to charges.

The former president and others charged in the case have denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.