A judge in Cobb County has decided that the divorce proceeding of Fulton County Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade, who was appointed to lead the case regarding former President Donald Trump, needs to be made public. In addition, he ordered a halt to the deposition of Fulton County DA Fani Willis.
Superior Court Judge Henry Thomas determined that the divorce should be unsealed due to the absence of a prior hearing before the case became sealed, which constitutes a procedural violation.
Regarding Willis, the judge stated that due to the absence of underage offspring in the divorce proceedings of Nathan and Joycelyn Wade, and considering it as a mere “math problem,” it would be illogical to hear from Willis before Mr. Wade had been examined under oath regarding his financial situation and his association with Willis.
Since Willis was scheduled to be deposed on Jan. 23 and Wade is not expected to be questioned for another 9 days, the judge issued a stay on the deposition of Willis. Judge Thomas indicated that if questions remain after Wade has been deposed, he will reconsider the deposition of Willis.
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“None of the key players — Willis or either of the Wades — were in the Cobb County courtroom for the hearing. Thomas said he would issue the order to unseal the divorce documents later today,” Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
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This all stems from accusations from a co-defendent in the election interference case that Willis and her special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, had an improper relationship. Now Willis has been subpoenaed by Wade’s ex-wife to testify in their divorce case.
On Thursday, Willis filed an emergency motion for a protective order asking the judge to stay her testimony in the divorce case. Wade’s ex-wife, Jocelyn, submitted bank records showing Willis and Wade took multiple trips together during the investigation into the Georgia election interference case involving former President Donald Trump.
In that motion, Willis claims Wade’s marriage fell apart before she met him, and she has no knowledge relevant to the subject matter. She also accused Jocelyn Wade of conspiring against her.
The extent of material that will be disclosed remains uncertain, according to a legal scholar.
“Typically, evidence presented in divorce cases is sealed. Even in dissolution of marriage, we don’t want the public kind of prying into marital life. So, it will be interesting to see if it’s unsealed,” elucidated John Acevedo, a Visiting Associate Professor at Emory University.
“This follows a motion by Michael Roman, one of the co-defendants in the election interference case, to have his case thrown out saying Willis and Wade had an improper relationship and should not be able to prosecute the case because of it. Employment contracts show Wade was paid more than other special prosecutors, despite Willis’ claims they were all paid equally,” Fox 5 added.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has set a hearing for that case on Feb. 15. Acevedo says the Cobb County case could cause delays in Fulton County.
“In many ways, the more information released, the faster the criminal prosecution can continue, because then the information will already be in-hand for that February hearing. If it’s not released, then the judge in February will have to decide whether he wants to compel the release from this civil divorce proceeding, which is not in the same court, and not in the same division. And that will cause delay,” Acevedo pointed out.
Acevedo stated that the resolution of Roman’s motion regarding the Fulton County charges will not affect the decision to proceed with the prosecution of those cases.
“If nothing else, it will make the jurors have pause as they’re seated, or the potential jurors. Will it ultimately decide the case? Probably not. Best case scenario, the defendant gets all their motions. We re-set back. [The] grand jury re-issues indictments. A new special prosecutor is appointed. So at most that you hope for is a delay,” he clarified.
DA Willis was informed by a process server who visited her office in Georgia that she is required to participate in the divorce proceedings of Nathan Wade, a lawyer whom she had previously engaged as a special prosecutor in the case against Trump, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. The subpoena, requested by Joycelyn Wade, the wife of Wade, was delivered to Willis’s executive assistant.
Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, forecasted the potential removal of Willis from the case involving former President Donald Trump due to her suspected romantic involvement with the special prosecutor.
According to reports, Willis allegedly provided a payment of more than $600,000 to Nathan Wade, with whom she is said to have had an extramarital relationship, in order to appoint him as a special prosecutor for the investigation of former President Donald Trump’s attempts to challenge the outcome of the 2020 election in Georgia. Turley stated that the 13-count indictment, which includes RICO allegations against Trump and others, obtained by Willis in August, has the potential to remain valid. However, Willis might encounter consequences as a result.