A defendant in the Georgia election interference case involving former President Trump claimed in new court filings that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) and a top prosecutor in the case are engaged in an “improper” romantic relationship, making the indictment “fatally defective.”
Mike Roman, a Philadelphia-based political operative who served as Trump’s director of Election Day operations on his 2020 reelection campaign and faces seven criminal charges, did not provide any hard evidence of the accusations.
Roman’s lawyer, Ashleigh Merchant, claimed in court papers that “sources close” to both Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade indicated the pair are involved in an “ongoing, personal and romantic relationship.”
“The instant Motion is not filed lightly. Nor is it being filed without considerable forethought, research or investigation,” Merchant wrote.
The Hill has reached out to the district attorney’s office and Roman’s lawyer for comment.
The Trump co-defendant claims that Willis and Wade traveled to “traditional vacation destinations” together — such as the Caribbean and Napa Valley — and have been seen in private together “in and about the Atlanta area.” The filing did not include documentation of those alleged trips.
The filing also claims that “sources close to both the special prosecutor and the district attorney” said an ongoing, personal relationship between the pair that began before the election interference case was initiated. The Hill has not independently confirmed these claims.
Wade worked in private practice but was hired by the district attorney’s office to help prosecute the election interference case, which resulted in charges against Trump and 18 others in a sprawling indictment last August.
Wade was paid nearly $654,000 in legal fees in 2022 and 2023 as he worked on the investigation, county records show. The district attorney’s office authorizes those funds, according to the records.
Roman’s attorney argued the setup amounted to an irreparable conflict of interest, seeking to dismiss the charges and block Willis, Wade and the Fulton County district attorney’s office from continuing to prosecute the case.
“Wade has personally and financially benefited from his personal relationship with Willis since he has received lucrative amounts under his continued contracts with Willis,” the motion states. “He will continue to be incentivized to prosecute this case based on his personal and financial motives, so he has acquired a unique and personal interest or stake in Mr. Roman’s continued prosecution. That is, he is motivated to prosecute Mr. Roman for as long as possible because he will continue to make exorbitant sums of money.”
Roman, a relatively low-profile defendant in the case, faces seven charges for allegedly helping coordinate a meeting where a slate of pro-Trump electors signed Electoral College documents in December 2020. He pleaded not guilty.
“It is not our intention here to find ways to prosecute the prosecutor, but it must be brought to the attention of the Court that the actions of the two lead district attorneys in this case arguably constitute crimes under federal law,” Merchant wrote in the filing.
Another co-defendant in the case, Trump-aligned attorney Kenneth Chesebro, had sought to dismiss his charges by arguing Wade didn’t file his oath of office paperwork on time, but a judge dismissed the motion.
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