Fani Willis accuses TrumpWorld of playing “race card” with improper relationship allegation

Fani Willis accuses TrumpWorld of playing “race card” with improper relationship allegation

Willis broke her silence after Trump co-defendant alleged misconduct over special prosecutor pick

Published January 15, 2024 11:00AM (EST)

District Attorney of Fulton County, Georgia, Fani Willis poses for photos in the Fulton County Court House in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, August 8, 2023. (Megan Varner for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Sunday pushed back on TrumpWorld allegations of misconduct during a speech at Georgia’s Big Bethel AME Church ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Willis’ remarks came after Ashleigh Merchant, a lawyer for Trump co-defendant and former campaign official Michael Roman, alleged that Willis engaged in an “improper” romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade, a private attorney Willis brought on to the case.

“I’m a little confused. I appointed three special counselors. It’s my right to do, paid them all the same hourly rate. They only attack one,” Willis said in her first public remarks on the matter, according to The Hill. “I hired one white woman, a good personal friend and a great lawyer, a superstar, I tell you. I hired one white man — brilliant — my friend and a great lawyer. And I hired one Black man, another superstar, a great friend and a great lawyer.”

Willis did not mention Wade by name but defended his “impeccable credentials.”

“The Black man I chose has been a judge for more than 10 years, run[s] a private practice more than 20 [years]. Represented businesses in civil litigation … served a prosecutor, a criminal defense lawyer, special assistant attorney general,” she said. “How come, God, the same Black man I hired was acceptable when a Republican in another country hired him and paid him twice the rate?”

Willis predicted her opponents would accuse her of playing the race card. “God, isn’t it them who’s playing the race card when they only question one?” she said. “They’re playing the race card when they constantly think I need someone from some other jurisdiction in some other state to tell me how to do a job I’ve [done] almost 30 years. I’m just asking, God, is it that some will never see a Black man as qualified, no matter his achievements?”

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