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How Ashleigh Merchant uncovered Fani Willis' secret relationship

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  one month ago  •  14 comments

By:   nypost (New York Post)

How Ashleigh Merchant uncovered Fani Willis' secret relationship
Ashleigh Merchant was first tipped off about Willis and Wade's relationship in September 2023.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


The love life of Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis has been under intense scrutiny since January, when it was revealed she had been sleeping with attorney Nathan Wade.

The revelation Willis had been romantically involved with the man she had appointed special prosecutor in the election interference case against Donald Trump was a bombshell no one saw coming — and drew disbelief from both sides of the political aisle.

On Wednesday, the lawyer who exposed them, Ashleigh Merchant, explained to a special Georgia Senate committee exactly how she did it — potentially uncovering a conflict of interest which will see Willis kicked off the case, stripped of her job or, potentially, worse.

Merchant was first tipped off about Willis and Wade's relationship when she ran into Wade's former law partner, Terrence Bradley, at court in Cobb County in September 2023, she testifed.

4Ashleigh Merchant was quizzed on her investigation into the alleged affair on Wednesday morning. AP

"Terrence essentially went through the whole thing," Merchant recalled, saying how Bradley - who was also briefly Wade's divorce lawyer - was first to tip her off about Willis' relationship.

Merchant testified how Wade was considered a surprising choice to helm the biggest case of Willis' career by the tight knit metro Atlanta legal community when he was appointed in November 2021.

In hearings about their relationship, both Willis and Wade have maintained their relationship did not start until spring 2022, after he had been appointed and the case was well underway.

However, Bradley was "very clear" it actually began at a judicial conference in October 2019, according to Merchant — which she has argued presents a conflict of interest and taints the case.

Open records requests from both the conference hosts and the county confirmed Willis did in fact attend the conference while Wade was one of the speakers, she claimed.

From the start the pair were very careful to keep their relationship under wraps, according to Bradley, and after the initial meeting Wade and Willis met up in hotels and a secret love nest.

4Nathan Wade was still married when his affair with Willis allegedly started. AP

Sometimes Bradley let Wade - who only reached a temporary agreement to settle his divorce in January - use his credit card to cover the illicit meet-ups without leaving a trail, Merchant told the committee.

"[He said] 'you need to find her bestie…that's the person whose condo it was that they would meet at,'" Merchant continued.

That "bestie" was eventually identified as Robin Yeartie, a former DA's office employee.

Bradley did not remember Yeartie's name, but Merchant was able to confirm her role in the saga by showing him her photo, she explained to the Senate committee.

After subpoenaing Wade's cell phone's geolocation data, Merchant's investigator was able to narrow his cellular 'pings' down to an area very close to Yeartie's condo in the months before he was appointed to the Trump case.

4Fulton County DA Fani Willis is accused of behaving inappropriately over her ties to Wade. Getty Images

There were also over 12,000 voice and text exchanges between Willis and Wade in 2021 - including over 2,000 voice calls, according to a documents submitted as evidence.

Bradley "detailed a lot of different travel" Wade and Willis supposedly did together during their relationship, Merchant told the committee.

In addition to jaunts to California, Texas, and other places in the United States, the pair also went on at least two cruises, and visited Belize, and the Bahamas, she explained.

Merchant subpoenaed Wade's credit card statements, which showed the prosecutor bought tickets for himself and Willis through a travel agency between 2022 and 2023.

The purchase statements even included Fani Willis' name and seat number - making the evidence that Wade paid for her to go on these trips "undisputed," Merchant argued on Wednesday.

Merchant fact-checked all of her additional findings with Bradley, she told the committee.

"I did not want to say one word that had not been verified," she said of her research ahead of the motion that was ultimately filed on Jan. 8.

In the motion, Merchant alleged Willis' affair with Wade was a conflict of interest in the election racketeering case - and she committed misconduct when she went on the trips Wade paid for with money he'd earned as the case's special prosecutor.

4Judge Scott McAfee is set to rule on the Willis case within the next week or two. AP

On Wednesday, Merchant noted she avoided naming Bradley as her initial source until she was forced to do so by the state.

Bradley was "very upset" when, in the days after the motion was filed, a friend of Wade's called him to ask if he was the source of Merchant's allegations, she told the committee.

The next day, Wade himself supposedly called Bradley's "best friend" and told him to remind Bradley of his attorney-client privilege because of Wade's divorce case, Merchant claimed.

Bradley, she added, had apparently been upset by how Wade treated his wife during their split, which is said to have taken place after he met Willis.

Merchant admitted that she was "taken aback" when Bradley later took the stand and denied that he had ever discussed the affair with her, and denied even basic knowledge about their relationship.

He also said texts where he had claimed they "absolutely" got together in 2019 were merely "speculation".

However, pushing back on Bradley's testimony in court, Willis' office dismissed him as an unreliable narrator who "had every motive to lie" after he left Wade's law firm under a cloud a suspicion about an alleged sexual assault.

The hearings over Willis and Wade's relationship wrapped up on March 1 and Judge Scott McAfee is expected to rule on the allegations against them within the next two weeks.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    one month ago

I think we can all agree that Terrence Bradley did more damage to Willis and himself than if he had simply testified honestly.

 
 
 
goose is back
Sophomore Guide
1.1  goose is back  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago
damage to Willis and himself than if he had simply testified honestly.

The cover up is always worse than the crime.  They may all be disbarred.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago

all i want you to do is find me 11,800 votes

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
1.2.1  Right Down the Center  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2    one month ago

Look in the cemetery like dems do.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.2.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Right Down the Center @1.2.1    one month ago

 I just wanted to bring you guys back to the planet earth

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Tessylo  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2    one month ago

The relationship has nothing to do with the fact that the former 'president' is guilty.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.2.4  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2    one month ago

Interpreting find can never mean produce.

The prosecutors lied to the court. That is what you are using.

 
 
 
Ronin2
Professor Quiet
1.2.5  Ronin2  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.2    one month ago

If you don't think we are on earth you have very serious problems.

Come back to reality.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Professor Participates
1.3  Snuffy  replied to  Vic Eldred @1    one month ago

I had wondered about that. Given all the text messages pre-trial and the paper trail and then for him to backtrack in court like he did, could he run into issues with the state bar? 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
2  Sean Treacy    one month ago

Trump might be well be better off if these idiots handled the prosecution. I doubt he will be lucky enough to be prosecuted by anyone so obviously incompetent and politicized.  

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Quiet
3  Igknorantzruls    one month ago

Y wouldnt Trump and cump want the inexperienced guy who never tried a case like this ?

Whether or not these two were boffing each other way back whenever, though unethical i guess, but by whose ethical standards are they to be judged and compared, Trumps...???? asz we all know, he has none, and yea, you would prefer that the suspicious nature is not a good look for the pair, but that is NOT what this is about. This is Trump n cump lawyers looking to delay trial till after the election in hopes ole Donny boy is somehow LEGALLY ELECTED this time, so he can pardon himself, cause the phone call is rather damning evidence, and this little sideshow has ABSOLUTELY NO BEARING, on Trumps guilt or in no sense would it make to complain about an inexperienced lawyer hired by the DA, as it would be to Trumps' advantage, no ? But i doubt that would be the reason you fellows are so interested in who Fannis' Fanny is being violated by, now would it ?

Anything to avoid Trump facing the consequences he so rightly deserves, serves your purpose just fine, not so much our country's though, or mine.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
3.1  Tessylo  replied to  Igknorantzruls @3    one month ago

You are correct iggy - their relationship has absolutely nothing to do with the absolute guilt of the former 'president'.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
3.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Igknorantzruls @3    one month ago

Fani brought this upon herself.  If she is disqualified it won’t be for having an affair but rather creating the appearance of a conflict of interest.  That can damage the prosecution’s credibility.

Second, the proper way to handle the accusations is for her  to address it quickly and directly.  She failed to do that making it appear that she had something to hide.

Her church speech was evasive on every material factual question and instead cried racism.  I have no doubt that if the Trump would have handled this the same way if the DA had been a white man.

She has let down her constituents and those on the nation looking forward to a conviction.

Trump remains the luckiest politician that I’ve ever seen.

 
 
 
Igknorantzruls
Freshman Quiet
3.2.1  Igknorantzruls  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.2    one month ago
She has let down her constituents and those on the nation looking forward to a conviction. Trump remains the luckiest politician that I’ve ever seen.

Agree on both points, as she let a nation down, and it's possible she would/could hold the keys to the case that Trump can't pardon himself on, but those keys may be taken away, instead of Trump, and that's the thing, not the key thing, as more than one key, you see, to take Trump down and out wind and money. 

  I'm a little on the fence about Trumps 'luck', cause he has a cult following that forgives all and to date, NOTHING, is too much for them, and that is less on him, and more on they , because it doesn't seem to matter what he do or say, he gets a pass gas that stinks to high Hell, and yet somehow they don't smell, or can't tell, how they got taken by an E Z pass out 100 watt lightbulb powered baking oven baker, who could not be more faker, as he claims to have 14 in his bakers that dozen have enough to pay his rape ee, acusse ee r, let alone NY, hell he can't afford to pay the girls he has to, pay to pork, cause he's a pig let loose gone boss hawg wilde , knot exactly boaring US, just enduring what he reaps is just sow wrong, as he cause all, to "wallow in the mud, with all the other pigs" is just  a damn shame of a sham, pig of a man, who's attempting to restart the Klan, with 3 white sheetz and his Dick in his hand,

which leaves us asking, what more could you wish four more years of the nuclear bomb in harms way Trump DRAMA each and every day, just leaves one wondering what else to say, b sides

FCK THAT and him, hopefully he elopes with lil' Kim and they honey moon where Putin puts them up North, not

Ollie

 
 

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