The Fani Fish Rots From The Head Down, Requiring Intervention By The Governor’s Office
Startling revelations out of Fani Willis’ office suggesting an improper romantic relationship giving rise to an irremediable conflict of interest between Georgia’s District Attorney and the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, should result in the entire case’s dismissal, without prejudice.
The allegations of impropriety between Willis and Wade, whom Willis’ team contracted in November of 2021, are legion, and include not only an inappropriate romantic relationship, but also serious allegations of self-dealing that involves Willis abusing her public office for lavish vacations, federal funding, and myriad other ethics violations.
The fiery allegations percolated to the surface after Mike Roman, one of the 17 co-defendants implicated in the Willis indictment, raised them in a January 8th court filing seeking to dismiss the grand jury indictment in toto as fatally defective and disqualify the district attorney’s office from further prosecuting the matter.
Roman’s explosive motion highlights improprieties that run the gauntlet from improper romantic relations to breaches of the District Attorney’s Loyalty Oath to egregious instances of self-dealing, most of which can be independently corroborated through adjacent court filings. The misconduct is so severe and persistent that it likely imputes Fani Willis’ whole office.
Fortunately, there is a remedy: under the Georgia State Constitution, Article V, Section III, Paragraph IV, “[t]he Attorney General shall … represent the state in the Supreme Court in all capital felonies and in all civil and criminal cases in any court when required by the Governor …”
Governor Brian Kemp has a constitutional duty to send AG Chris Carr into the District Attorney’s Office to clean up this mess and do so immediately or risk irreparable damage to public confidence in the integrity of the proceeding, and by extension, given President Trump’s involvement, America’s justice system overall.
This remains true, regardless of the veracity of Roman’s allegations, which are exhaustively described in his recent court filing, because of Fulton County’s own rules of professional misconduct regarding conflicts of interest. The Fulton County Code of Ethics states that “no officer … shall, by his or her conduct give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or her, or unduly enjoy his or her favor, in the performance of any official acts or actions.”
In other words, even the simple appearance of impropriety is sufficient to disqualify an officer from a proceeding whereby such misconduct could raise significant doubts about the integrity and fairness of the process at large.
Indeed, Wade regularly vowed to this standard himself: for example, according to the Marietta Daily Journal, in 2016, Wade stated publicly that “If there’s an appearance, just a mere appearance of impropriety, and there’s a request for recusal, just do it, because by not doing it, what you’re doing is hurting the county in the long run, you’re costing the taxpayers a lot of money.”
These statements he made in reference to Cobb County Superior Court judge Reuben Green who Wade ran against for his post multiple times. Much like the conflicts Wade now faces, at the time Green was similarly accused of having conflicts of interest that drew ethics complaints. Wade was probably correct to point out those violations at the time; however, equal protection requires the law be applied faithfully to all persons. Now that Wade himself is in the hot seat on conflict issues, the chickens have come home to roost.
Facts Of Impropriety Include Shameless Self-Dealing, Inexperience, Failure To Disclose Financial Information, Romantic Dalliances, And Other Egregious Abuses Of A Government Office
Obviously, such doubts have been at the forefront ever since Willis first launched this investigation into President Trump’s conduct in the weeks before he was unceremoniously ousted from the presidency. An overwhelming majority of Americans believe Fani Willis’ investigation has always been politically motivated, and the facts confirm this suspicion beyond a reasonable doubt.
So, what are the facts? Willis appointed Wade to her legal team in late November 2021. Wade had previously described himself as a “divorce lawyer” with “decades of experience” handling divorce cases. As far as managing complex, high-profile criminal prosecutions, his resume was patently deficient – and the revelations that have since come to light only confirm that lack of experience.
Wade’s inexperience alone raises serious due process questions about the Special Prosecutor’s ability to run perhaps the most consequential criminal prosecution in American history, which implicates a President of the United States on fundamental questions of election integrity, among other constitutional issues.
Wade, having never prosecuted anything beyond petty misdemeanors before, is scandalously unqualified for a national criminal prosecution of such historic magnitude involving a President of the United States. That Willis would appoint someone with so little experience, a fact that neither Wade nor Willis disputes, to a criminal prosecution of such significance, is absolutely staggering – and raises grave concerns about her own aptitude, let alone significant violations of fundamental procedural (and even substantive) due process rights.
A day after Willis appointed Wade to her team, Wade filed for divorce from his wife of more than 24 years, Joycelyn Wade. This past week, Politico reported that Wade’s divorce proceeding was unusually acrimonious, and even resulted in a contempt order lodged against Wade by the judge presiding over that case. The contempt order resulted from Wade having “’inadequately responded’ to his wife’s discovery requests.”
Part of that discovery request involved an order requesting Wade “to turn over a host of financial documents, including all income statements since 2016.” If Wade had refused to turn over such documents, the judge presiding over the case threatened him with contempt and sanctions, which ultimately were filed against Wade.
There are two points worth underscoring with this divorce proceeding. First, contempt orders are extremely rare for divorce proceedings. This is because parties are typically given ample opportunities to reply in divorce proceedings, so it rarely gets to the point where a judge actually has to threaten disciplinary action, let alone order an official filing against a party for misconduct.
To do so, the violations must be so severe, so unconscionable, as to leave the court, having exhausted all other judicial remedies, no choice than to recommend disciplinary action. In Wade’s case, his wife’s discovery request alleged that “Plaintiff ha[d] not produced one single document evidencing this income.” The fact that Wade was subsequently hit with a contempt order by the judge would seem to confirm that fact.
Separate from Roman’s own allegations, public court records show that Willis should have at least been aware of major issues concerning Wade’s character – made even more shocking by the fact that Wade himself was a divorce lawyer for decades, and thus, presumably, was keenly aware of how these proceedings worked. Once those revelations came to light, Willis should have immediately fired Wade.
She also should have immediately recused herself for a dereliction of her oath of office and her constitutional duty to maintain the highest ethical standards possible, particularly on a case of such national-profile, by appointing a Special Prosecutor so flawed in manner of character and professional experience.
Second – and this is where things go beyond the pale – that same report said that Wade’s ex-wife claimed that she had absolutely no idea that he was assigned to work as the lead prosecutor on Trump’s case by Fani Willis’ office until he was forced by the court to disclose such financial disclosures because of the contempt order from his divorce proceeding.
In other words, Wade was covering up decisive information about his personal finances from his own ex-wife, who, she claimed, had been given “nearly nothing” in financial support. Considering Wade’s lengthy, decades-long experience overseeing divorce cases, his professional misconduct here, so appallingly derelict, necessarily borders on criminality.
What makes the latter point so troubling? Well, for starters, it ties into various other serious allegations of self-dealing and profiteering from abusing Willis’ government office.
For instance, less than two months after the divorce court granted Wade’s wife’s request to reopen discovery, Joycelyn Wade told the court “that her husband earned almost $700,000 for his work on the Trump case since May of 2022.”
This is corroborated by claims made in Roman’s motion to dismiss, which stipulated that “the special prosecutor has been paid an estimated $1,000,000.00 in legal fees” since Willis tapped Wade as special prosecutor (page 6 of the filing). Arguably even more troubling is the fact that since Wade was appointed special prosecutor, he made various trips to Washington, DC, and even held meetings at Biden’s White House and with the January 6th Committee.
Since those facts came to light, House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan “launched an investigation into Willis for accepting more than $14.6 million in grant funds from President Joe Biden’s Justice Department (DOJ) between 2020 and 2023,” according to Breitbart. The same article stated “[t]he timeframe of the funds suggests the DOJ granted Willis federal funds to finance former President Donald Trump’s prosecution.”
The timetable runs in lockstep with the trips Wade made to Washington, DC, as recounted in the billing records detailed in the Mike Roman filing, on pages 13-15. Hence, the old saying “if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck” would appear to ring true here: all the evidence would seem to point in the direction that Willis’ office was coordinating – perhaps even conspiring – with Biden’s Justice Department, receiving millions of dollars to prosecute their leading political opponent in Donald Trump.
Interestingly, Roman’s motion, which the media has struggled to discredit – and which the State of Georgia requested until February 2nd, nearly two weeks from now, to answer – strongly indicates the reports are well-founded. Further support for this is found in the State’s unusually long, two-week period, until February 2nd, to respond to Roman’s motion to dismiss because it would ordinarily not spend that much time on a groundless filing that can be discredited out-of-hand.
But all that is still arguably just the tip of the iceberg.
Roman’s filing also alleges a romantic relationship between Willis and Wade. Unfortunately, records of the divorce proceeding between Wade and his ex-wife were put under seal by a court order of questionable legality, soon after Wade was assigned to the case by Willis. However, information obtained outside of court filings not only showed that Wade had been concealing important records pertaining to his spending habits and income from not only the public, but even from his own ex-wife. Moreover, Fulton County public records have also confirmed that Willis did not obtain county approval, as is standard requirement, to appoint Wade as special prosecutor. For his part, Wade has admitted his oath was not filed prior to starting work on this most consequential case.
To further add insult to injury, court records also show that Wade had been billing the District Attorney’s office “$250 per hour for his work prosecuting Donald Trump.” The New York Post and other outlets reported that “John Floyd – regarded [as] the state’s foremost expert on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) cases – was only billing $150 an hour in those same months.”
Floyd, who is white, has years of experience working as a high stakes criminal prosecutor and has the credentials, which include being a RICO treatise author and partner at a major Georgia law firm, to match the kind of work expected for a prosecution of this scale. This puts Floyd in sharp contrast with Wade, who all records indicate was woefully unprepared, to say nothing of being morally and professionally compromised, to take on this line of work. Nevertheless, racial and romantic preferences would appear to supersede merit and experience for Fani Willis’ office: the glorified municipal traffic court judge has made millions on the grift, leaving his more experienced co-counsel out to dry.
What is more, Roman’s filing claimed that the self-dealing operation at the Fulton County District Attorney’s office extended beyond race-based salary increases, to lavish vacations to Napa Valley and the Caribbean, where Wade used some of his exorbitant kickbacks as Special Prosecutor to treat Willis on what seem to be romantic soirees to such exotic locales.
One may be able to rationalize a platonic “business trip,” for the purposes of this proceeding, between Willis and Wade to, say, Washington, D.C., or perhaps even New York City (although even those destinations should raise eyebrows). But the fact that the two traveled to such tropical hideaways while working together on the same case and are attempting to pass it off as “non-romantic,” “business trips” rents the absolute outer limits of plausibility. Any sober assessment of the facts would assume the two were on a romantic rendezvous.
Indeed, the evidence for an unprofessional relationship is rather overwhelming: extravagant getaways, being given the Special Prosecutor’s role despite having zero experience, divorce filings one day after being put on the case. And, on top of everything else, there were the various trips back and forth to Washington, D.C., in addition to the asserted requests by Willis to lobby repeatedly for additional money from both Fulton County lawyers and Biden’s DOJ – presumably to help finance her expensive dalliances with Wade around the world.
How Governor Kemp And Attorney General Carr Can Remedy The Egregious Abuses Committed By Davis And Wade
Over the past week, public scrutiny on the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office has ramped up considerably – the allegations of impropriety are so bad that they just no longer can be swept under the carpet, even by mainstream left-leaning news outlets such as the Washington Post, which also reported on the story and struggled noticeably to maintain its typical partisan stance. Willis, likely feeling intense public pressure, immediately played the race card by ascribing the blame for the attacks on her office to systemic racism, rather than the obvious explanation: rank incompetence.
“I hired one black man, another superstar, a great friend and a great lawyer … First thing they say: ‘oh she’s gonna play the race card now,” Willis said in remarks at the Big Bethel AME Church in Atlanta on Sunday, speaking about her alleged lover, Nathan Wade. As she continued her race-hustling sermon, Willis’ gaslighting devolved into incoherent rambling: “But no God, isn’t it them that’s playing the race card when they only question one?”
Ultimately, should cooler heads prevail, the only acceptable outcome is that Willis, Wade, and their office’s racketeering scheme be put to a swift and consequential end. The misconduct, self-dealing, and rank corruption out of Fani Willi’s entire office is simply too egregious to ignore. And what has been reported publicly likely only scratches the surface.
Stephen Gillers, a professor emeritus at New York University Law School, nobody’s idea of a bastion of conservatism, and expert of legal and judicial ethics stated point blank: “Willis was conflicted in the investigation and prosecution of this case,” and that “…the public and the state, as her client could not have the confidence in the independent judgment that her position required her to exercise.”
In short, Fani Willis must recuse herself, at the bare minimum, from this action – and let someone without all her baggage take the reins.
But given how deep the stain of self-dealing goes in this case, how massive the numerous conflicts of interest are here which affect the entire timeline of the prosecution, and run through all major players, tends in the direction of where all reasonable minds should inevitably arrive: the indictment needs to be dismissed.
Furthermore, the two lovebirds, Willis and Wade, need to be sternly disciplined by the Georgia Bar. Simply removing them from the case and swapping in another District Attorney, or even allowing the Fulton County District Attorney’s office to remain on the case, will not suffice because the rot is far too deep, the collateral damage to innocent parties simply too great. The conflict imputes to the whole office.
Therefore, the only just remedy is to dismiss the indictment without prejudice, reassign the investigation to another District Attorney, and let them start from scratch with a new special purpose grand jury and, depending on the outcome, a new regular grand jury to see if a new indictment can be returned. Anything short of that would risk further undermining public confidence in a proceeding where public confidence is already at an all-time low.
Fortunately, as stated at the beginning of this article, Georgia’s Governor, Brian Kemp, could put an end to this charade immediately. The Georgia State Constitution grants him the power to appoint his Attorney General, Christopher Carr, to intervene. Georgia’s Constitution requires that Carr, as Attorney General, “represent the state in the Supreme Court in all capital felonies and in all civil and criminal cases in any court when required by the Governor.”
Accordingly, Kemp can use his gubernatorial powers to force Carr’s intervention, in a case that, without special involvement directly from the governor’s office, likely will erode whatever crumbs of public confidence and integrity remains in Georgia’s justice system.
As it stands, the Fani Willis prosecution was always seen from its inception by half the country as a political hit job by a vindictive District Attorney, aided and abetted by an even more vindictive Justice Department. Thus, it was arguably already tainted by irremediable impropriety on just that basis. But now, in addition to the breach of public trust that comes with a politically motivated prosecution, are the massive conflicts of interest and professional improprieties that run the entire gauntlet for attorney misconduct, which have all come to light.
All the evidence – and the behavior by the District Attorney and Special Prosecutor in the days since the news broke – points, at the bare minimum, to the appearance of impropriety – which has spiraled beyond control. If allowed to continue, such impropriety would likely be the final nail in the coffin for the possibility of fair and impartial justice in America. Those are the incredible stakes involved in this case, which, if left unchecked, would define Brian Kemp’s legacy as the Governor who let justice die under his watch.
Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly re-truthed by President Trump. Follow him on X @PaulIngrassia, Substack, Truth Social, Instagram, and Rumble.