In the fall of 2021, Nathan Wade had little experience prosecuting criminal cases in the Atlanta area, serving as a municipal judge who mostly dealt with traffic tickets and running a private practice that focuses on family law and contract disputes. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis chose him to lead the biggest case of her career, a two-and-a-half year investigation charged former president Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants with illegally conspiring to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Willis’s decision to hire Wade is now facing scrutiny after a Trump co-defendant alleged that the two prosecutors are lovers who have vacationed together on Wade’s dime in Napa Valley and the Caribbean. The accusation could present a conflict of interest or could amount to fraud, reports the Washington Post.
The episode has drawn attention to an arrangement in which Willis’s office hired an outside attorney and paid his firm more than $650,000 over two years to lead a criminal investigation typically managed by civil servants. It reflects the intense scrutiny facing prosecutors who are seeking to convict a former U.S. president and his allies, leaving little margin for error as detractors look for any opportunity to scuttle the case. Willis on Sunday accused her critics of “playing the race card” by attacking her and Wade, who are Black, but not the other two special prosecutors on the case, who are White. Without naming him, Willis described Wade as a lawyer of “impeccable credentials” with decades of experience who helped assemble the prosecution team and bring the case against Trump and his allies. . Former Trump campaign aide Mike Roman, who alleged the improper relationship, wants the entire prosecution team disqualified and the charges dismissed. A close examination of Wade’s legal career as well as interviews with those who have known him for years found a respected attorney active in public life but one with little experience comparable to the Trump case.