Charges against Trump in Georgia: Chief investigator denies "wrongdoing"

The prosecutor responsible for prosecuting former US President Donald Trump in the state of Georgia has come under heavy pressure due to allegations of “misconduct”. At a court appearance on Thursday in Atlanta, chief prosecutor Fani Willis vehemently defended herself against the Trump camp's allegations that relate to her intimate relationship with another investigator. In an emotional appearance, she described herself as the victim of a smear campaign.

Trump lawyers have requested that Willis be removed from the case and charges against their client be dropped. The indictment relates to Trump's attempts to retroactively overturn his 2016 election defeat against now-President Joe Biden. Willis has requested that the trial against Trump and his 14 co-defendants begin on August 5th – exactly three months before the presidential election, in which Trump wants to run against Biden.

However, Trump and his lawyers argue that Willis had an “inappropriate intimate and personal relationship” with the special prosecutor Nathan Wade, who was entrusted with the Trump case. Willis is said to have benefited financially from this relationship. Wade spent part of the $650,000 (€604,000) he received for his work on “lavish vacations” with Willis, including a Caribbean cruise, the Trump camp's filing says.

Willis had already acknowledged a “personal relationship” with Wade before the hearing that began on Thursday. At the appointment, however, she again denied that her intimate relationship with the special investigator had already begun before she hired him in November 2021 to work on the investigation against Trump.

She accused the defense attorneys of spreading “lies” about her and called the allegations “extremely hurtful.” The defendants are on trial for trying to “steal an election.” Willis said to the Trump lawyers: “I am not on trial, no matter how hard they try to bring me to trial.”

However, Willis' former colleague and friend Robin Bryant Yeartie had previously testified at the hearing that, to her knowledge, Willis and Wade began their “personal and romantic” relationship at the end of 2019. Willis then accused her of “betraying” their friendship.

Wade also testified in the live televised hearing. He reported that his intimate relationship with Willis began around March 2022.

Willis also denied that she let her lover pay for vacations. Everyone paid their part. “I don’t need anyone to pay my bills,” the prosecutor said. “The only man who has ever paid all of my bills is my dad.” The hearing was scheduled to last two days and was scheduled to continue on Friday.

Trump was indicted on 13 counts in Georgia in August. These include conspiracy to commit forgery, conspiracy to make false statements, making false documents, and incitement to violate an oath of office. The charges are based, among other things, on a law to combat organized crime.

In a famous phone call with Georgia's election director Brad Raffensperger, the elected president demanded that he “find” the 11,780 electoral votes necessary for his victory in the southern state. In addition, the confirmation of Biden's victory should be prevented by false electoral votes in favor of Trump.

The Republican is also facing federal charges for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. In total he is criminally charged in four cases.

One of these cases revolves around a hush money payment to former porn actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election campaign. A hearing on this case also took place on Thursday. A judge in New York set the trial to begin on March 25th. In the case, the public prosecutor's office accuses Trump of falsifying business documents in 34 cases.

Trump describes himself as a victim of a politically controlled justice system that wants to torpedo the campaign for his re-election. He and his lawyers are trying to either prevent the trials entirely or, if possible, postpone them until after the election.