Judge Drops Bombshell on Trump’s Lawyer: Treat Willis as Hostile Witness

Andrey_Popov / shutterstock.com
Andrey_Popov / shutterstock.com

There was a tense atmosphere in the courtroom on Thursday as Fani Willis took the stand. Her testimony was eagerly anticipated. The atmosphere thickened as she navigated through a barrage of probing questions from a number of attorneys, all delving deep into the intricacies of her personal relationship. The drama escalated when Trump’s lawyer objected to Willis’s long-winded responses, causing Judge McAfee to suggest asking yes-or-no questions and treating Willis as a hostile witness.

The state attorneys challenged the discussion about treating Willis as a hostile witness. Willis expressed that her presence was voluntary and didn’t consider herself hostile. Her statement prompted McAfee to state, “It’s not so much you’re a hostile witness, Ms. Willis. It would be an adverse witness.” McAfee added that Willis’s interests were opposed to Ms. Ashley Merchant’s (Trump’s attorney). Willis then took the opportunity to raise concerns about certain allegations, which she believed were fundamentally undemocratic.

During another moment in the trial, Willis said, “You’re confused; you think I’m on trial?” The defendants are being tried for attempting to steal an election in 2020. “I’m not on trial no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.”

Throughout her testimony, Willis clarified that she did not conceal any gifts from Mr. Wade because there weren’t any to disclose. She explained that while they might have shared meals, there was no formal tracking of expenses, nor did she reimburse him, except for explicitly paying for trips in cash, which she admitted she had no records of. Willis also emphasized that financial considerations only came to the fore during the proceedings, denying any impropriety due to her role.

When attorneys attempted to delve into unreported expenses or gifts, the judge intervened, curtailing further inquiries along those lines. Questions about trips to New York and Australia were raised, with Willis denying such travels but confirming separate visits to New York. Wade testified earlier that he did not recall traveling with Willis in 2021, the same year he was hired by the DA’s office. However, he did remember traveling with her in 2022 and 2023. According to his testimony, he began his relationship with Willis in March 2022, and their trips together started in the same year.

The discussion then shifted to the business dealings involving Mr. Wade and his law partners with the district attorney’s office, highlighting the financial benefits derived from their contract. Willis acknowledged these arrangements but noted the contracts were short-lived as she prioritized staffing her office adequately.

Willis defended her financial prudence, stating she negotiated hard to keep contractor payments at or below $250 per hour, starkly contrasting to higher rates paid elsewhere. She recounted strong disagreements with Mr. Wade over financial independence, which resulted in their eventual breakup.

The timeline and nature of Willis’s relationship with Mr. Wade were scrutinized, with Willis admitting the relationship began. At the same time, she was district attorney but was not disclosed to her team, emphasizing her privacy regarding personal matters.

Travel questions led Willis to clarify that while they traveled to Washington, D.C., they were not together. She also denied disclosing the relationship to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners or her office and countered allegations of them living together with firm denials.

Willis reflected on her gratitude towards Mr. Wade for his involvement in her professional life despite their relationship ending in the late summer of 2023. She criticized the invasive nature of obtaining personal records for legal motions, asserting her focus on the trial’s subjects rather than her personal life.

Regarding financial practices, Willis explained her habit of keeping cash at home, a practice encouraged by her father, which varied in amount based on her financial status. Willis also detailed vacations with Mr. Wade, describing their first trip together and emphasizing her financial contribution to their travels, including a significant trip to Belize for Mr. Wade’s 50th birthday, underscoring her independence and the personal significance of these moments.