A Georgia state judge has scheduled a hearing on allegations that Fulton County DA Fani Willis had an affair with one of the lawyers she appointed to work as a lead prosecutor in her prosecution of Donald Trump and others.
The Post write-up says that the hearing is is about whether Willis “engaged in an improper relationship and mishandled public money.” When I read this I thought it wasn’t clear if the relationship was actually improper aside from the allegations of misuse of public money. But my momentary double take captures the uncanny dualism of this story.
On the one hand it’s still not clear to me — and not to many lawyers I’ve spoken to — just what the bad act here would be. Unless Nathan Wade, the outside prosecutor and alleged boyfriend, was submitting false billing reports, the claims of misuse of public funds or kickbacks are thin at best. Willis and Wade are adults. They can have a romantic relationship if they want. But the thinness of these accusations on the merits are just swallowed alive by the dumbfounding inexplicability of just what on earth Willis — assuming the claims of a relationship are true — was possibly thinking. Trump goes to town on the alleged partisanship of his enemies’ nephew’s friend’s personal trainer. What was she thinking? And with everything that was and is at stake.
It’s still my sense that this was always the point. You can’t go into court and say, “Hey, he’s her boyfriend!” You need to make some argument for why that matters to the case. Whether those arguments add up is kind of beside the point. Certainly in the court of public opinion and maybe in a real court too.
The hearing is scheduled for February 15th. And it’s televised. So Willis will need to respond to these allegations on video. She must respond in writing by February 2nd.