Days Ahead of Hearing, Fulton County DA Tries to Quash Subpoenas

The hearing was scheduled in response to a motion filed by defendant Michael Roman.

Ahead of a scheduled Feb. 15 hearing that will address allegations that have rattled the Fulton County District Attorney’s office in the Georgia election case, the attorneys have filed a motion to quash subpoenas that would require top prosecutors to testify.

Subpoenaed to testify were Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Executive District Attorney Daysha Young, Deputy District Attorney Sonya Allen, Deputy District Attorney Dexter Bond, special prosecutor Nathan Wade, Assistant Chief Investigator Michael Hill, Deputy Executive Assistant Tia Green, Chief Investigator Capers Green, and Assistant Chief Investigator Thomas Ricks from the district attorney’s office.

Also subpoenaed were an attorney who represented Mr. Wade in his divorce proceedings and a bank that has the personal and business bank records of Mr. Wade’s private practice.

Ms. Willis is prosecuting former President Donald Trump and 14 others, alleging that their actions to challenge the 2020 Georgia election results amounted to a racketeering conspiracy.

Defendants Say Willis Should Be Disqualified

The hearing was scheduled in response to a motion filed by defendant Michael Roman. Last month, Mr. Roman, a former White House aide, alleged that Ms. Willis was having an “improper” relationship with Mr. Wade, a prosecutor she hired to take a lead role in the case. He also alleged that Mr. Wade didn’t have the professional experience necessary for the role, that Ms. Willis personally profited from the appointment when he took her on “lavish” vacations, and that she used funds meant to clear COVID-era case backlogs to pursue the investigation, including contracting media consultants to track her media appearances.

Mr. Roman argued that these allegations, for which he said he’d provide evidence and testimony in a hearing, were grounds for the disqualification of Ms. Willis, her team, and the entire indictment. Several codefendants have since joined the motion or made their own arguments for Ms. Willis’s disqualification based on other alleged improper behavior. They include President Trump, former Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark, and former Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer.

Ms. Willis has already pushed back on these claims in court filings, arguing that nothing she has done is grounds for disqualification. In a sworn affidavit attached to the response, Mr. Wade acknowledged that the two had a “personal relationship” and they had taken trips together.

Related Stories

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“The effort should be promptly brought to a close,” prosecutors argued in a second court filing, on Feb. 7.

The prosecutors say that Mr. Roman has not spoken to any of the 11 parties subpoenaed, and therefore, it cannot be believed that their testimony is necessary or relevant.

They accuse him of a “transparent” fishing expedition to support his “reckless accusations” and asked a judge to quash the subpoenas.

Attorney Ashleigh Merchant, representing Mr. Roman, had separately sued the district attorney to turn over records and has argued that material that is public under Georgia law, like the expenditures for her office, was requested multiple times over several months and never received. She argued, in court filings, that this is material necessary for the defense of her client—if the alleged pattern of financial misconduct on the district attorney’s part is proven, Ms. Merchant argues this should disqualify her and end the case.

Mr. Willis, meanwhile, has argued that this is all part of an attempt to “harass” and “embarrass” her.

Limelight

“The indiscriminate breadth with which Defendant Roman has sought to secure testimony from District Attorney employees is troubling, and suggests an eye toward public narrative as opposed to legal remedy,” the motion reads.

Mr. Roman’s motion indeed put a spotlight on Ms. Willis, and events have snowballed. Other allegations of misconduct were reported, and Ms. Willis is now the subject of several investigations in different jurisdictions.

A Georgia Senate panel was recently established to investigate the allegations first made public in Mr. Roman’s motion. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, State Sen. Bill Cowsert said at the panel’s inaugural meeting on Feb. 9 that multiple “whistleblowers” inside Ms. Willis’s office have already come forward with “allegations about the misuse of both federal funds and state funds.”

The panel has not interviewed these people yet, but plans to additionally subpoena people to testify under oath.

Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis has also demanded that Ms. Willis answer questions about the allegations of misuse of public funds.
On the federal level, the House Judiciary Committee had previously opened an investigation into Ms. Willis on the allegation that the case has been politically motivated, and multiple times requested materials and answers. Ms. Willis had not provided either, and soon after Mr. Roman’s allegations were made public, the committee subpoenaed Ms. Willis for the documents.

Feb. 15 Hearing

It is unclear that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee will allow Mr. Roman to demand testimony from the nine attorneys in the district attorney’s office, because it is rare to require testimony from opposing counsel.

The regular pretrial motions hearings have not typically been formal to the point of a mini-trial, and Mr. Roman also has yet to make clear what these testimonies would provide.

However, the judge is likely to want to hear from Ms. Willis herself. In previous hearings, Judge McAfee has stuck to a mediator’s role, making sure questions from one side are addressed by the other. He has also prioritized efficiency and previously criticized Mr. Shafer for bringing a separate motion to disqualify Mr. Wade because his private law practice had reportedly sent brochures courting the business of Mr. Shafer and other codefendants.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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