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Home High profile 'Unsatisfied with only lying under oath': Fani Willis and special prosecutor in Trump RICO case accused of witness tampering and encouraging 'false testimony'

'Unsatisfied with only lying under oath': Fani Willis and special prosecutor in Trump RICO case accused of witness tampering and encouraging 'false testimony'

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, Friday, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. The hearing is to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case because of a relationship with Nathan Wade, special prosecutor she hired in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz, Pool)

The witness tampering and perjury accusations are based on testimony from the hearing regarding allegations of favoritism and self-dealing, as well as a post-hearing request to re-open the evidence citing a new witness.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, Friday, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. The hearing is to determine whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case because of a relationship with Nathan Wade, special prosecutor she hired in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz, Pool)
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis appears at a hearing on the Georgia election interference case on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Alex Slitz, Pool)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade were accused of tampering with a witness and convincing them to lie under oath, according to a court filing in the disqualification controversy.

As the attempt to remove the prosecutors from the racketeering (RICO) and election interference case brought against Donald Trump nears its end, the new claims are presented in a 20-page response focused on legal standards.

'Unsatisfied with only lying under oath, the District Attorney and [Special Assistant District Attorney (SADA)] Wade engaged in a coordinated campaign to tamper with a witness and push them to give false testimony,' the filing says.

The filing was made in Fulton County Superior Court by defense attorney Christopher Anulewicz on behalf of co-defendant Robert Cheeley, an Alpharetta-based attorney accused of providing state legislators with false evidence of electoral fraud following Trump's loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

The allegations of witness tampering and perjury against Cheeley draw from two sources: (1) testimony from the four-day hearing on claims of nepotism and self-dealing before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee and (2) a post-hearing request to reopen the evidence filed by co-defendant David Shafer, the former Georgia GOP chair who prosecutors say played a key role in the fake electors plot.

Another witness details a phone call

As Law&Crime previously reported, Shafer’s request proposes the testimony of Cindi Lee Yeager, a prosecutor in nearby Cobb County.

Yeager’s testimony was offered to support claims made by Terrence Bradley, Wade’s former divorce lawyer and law partner, about the timeline of the DA’s relationship with the man she appointed to oversee the most significant criminal case in Peach State history.

Bradley stated that the two prosecutors began dating before Willis hired Wade, but when testifying under oath, Bradley said he couldn't remember or was only speculating about various details about the Willis-Wade relationship — including the start of the admitted affair.

The defense also presented Yeager’s testimony to challenge key aspects of Bradley’s testimony — both about the nature of claims regarding the relationship and Bradley’s interactions with Willis herself.

From the Shafer motion, in part (emphasis in original):

In or around September of 2023, Mr. Bradley was visiting Ms. Yeager in her office when Mr. Bradley received a telephone call. Ms. Yeager could hear that the caller was District Attorney Willis. District Attorney Willis was calling Mr. Bradley in response to an article that was published about how much money Mr. Wade and his law partners had been paid in this case. Ms. Yeager heard District Attorney Willis tell Mr. Bradley: “They are coming after us. You don’t need to talk to them about anything about us.”

More Law&Crime coverage: The Trump Docket: Cannon gives Trump the hearing schedule he wants in showdown to dismiss classified documents case

Defense attorneys have attempted to raise concerns about Wade being overpaid for his work and not being sufficiently qualified for the job his then-girlfriend allegedly hired him to do. However, these arguments have not gained much traction in McAfee’s courtroom.

The main problem with Yeager's supposed statement about the phone call is whether Bradley misrepresented his connection with the district attorney. If the judge believes Yeager, this could cause problems for the state's case. However, Shafer's motion falls short of outright accusing Willis and Wade of witness tampering.

Importantly, the alleged phone conversation between Bradley and Willis supposedly happened over three months before defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant filed the disqualification motion in early January of this year.

Another phone call

Cheeley's response also mentions another phone call discussed during Bradley’s two appearances on the stand — in mid-February and late February.

“Bradley also testified that another attorney, Gabe Banks (a friend and former Fulton County ADA with Fani Willis, and whose wife currently works at the District Attorney’s Office), called him in advance of his testimony,” according to the Cheeley filing. “Mr. Bradley then took the stand and denied having any personal knowledge of the relationship between the District Attorney and SADA Wade, despite having previously disclosed such information to counsel for Roman and to Cobb ADA Ms. Yeager.”

During his testimony, Bradley talked about the call he got from former prosecutor and current defense attorney Gabe Banks.

That phone call, Merchant confirmed, came “out of the blue” and was related to Bradley possibly testifying in the disqualification case. The defense had been attempting to prove that Banks made the call on Wade’s behalf and told Bradley not to testify — after Wade called Banks — with limited success.

After a series of typically forgetful, hesitant, and evasive responses, Merchant also got Bradley to testify that Banks brought up Bradley’s obligations to respect the attorney-client privilege — suggesting that Bradley should not discuss Wade’s affair with Willis. Nonetheless, Bradley stated that he did not perceive the call from Banks as a threat.

 

 

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