ATLANTA — The judge presiding over the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others has set a Feb. 15 hearing date on misconduct allegations against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and her top prosecutor, while Willis accused the prosecutor's estranged wife of "obstructing and interfering" with their case.
The developments came after a court filing this month by Michael Roman, a co-defendant in the Trump case, alleging Willis was in a "romantic relationship" with special prosecutor Nathan Wade.
In a filing Thursday, Willis accused Wade's wife Joycelyn Wade of trying to "harass" her and "damage her professional reputation." She alleged the wife had "conspired with interested parties in the Criminal Election Interference Case to use the civil discovery process to annoy, embarrass and oppress District Attorney Willis."
Willis also argued that filings in the case appeared to be "conspicuously coordinated" with Roman. Willis is seeking a protective order to quash a subpoena for her deposition by Joycelyn Wade. The DA said that the Wades have been living apart since 2021 and have agreed in court filings that their marriage is "irretrievably broken," and that Willis does not have any information "that might prove relevant to granting or denying the divorce."
Roman contends that Willis, Nathan Wade and the DA's office should be disqualified from prosecuting the case and the criminal charges against him dismissed “on the grounds that the district attorney and the special prosecutor have been engaged in an improper, clandestine personal relationship during the pendency of this case, which has resulted in the special prosecutor, and, in turn, the district attorney, profiting significantly from this prosecution at the expense of the taxpayers.”
"Instead of handling this case within her office, as she could have done," the filing said, Willis "chose to hire a private special prosecutor to preside over the case," and in doing so used the prosecution "to pay her partner a large sum of money."
An attorney for Willis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the filing in the divorce case, which was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, nor did an attorney for Roman.
Joycelyn Wade's lawyer, Andrea Dyer Hastings, said in a statement that her firm is trying "to help Ms. Wade resolve her divorce fairly and privately, but apparently Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis would prefer to use her public platform. Clearly, this matter is personal for her."
She said they would respond with their own court filing.
A spokesperson for the DA’s office said this month that they'd respond to Roman's allegations in a court filing and declined further comment.
In his order Thursday setting a hearing date, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee directed the DA’s office to respond to the motion by Feb. 2.
Roman's filing does not provide direct evidence to support the claims, citing only “sources with knowledge” while raising questions about the process by which Willis hired Wade.
Roman's attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, has told NBC News that some of the evidence could not be shared until Wade’s divorce records are unsealed.
“At a hearing, the concrete evidence would be presented,” she said.
Roman, a former Trump White House aide and campaign staffer, was one of 19 people charged in the case. He is accused of conspiring to organize “alternate electors” to cast votes for Trump after Joe Biden won the election in the state in 2020.
Four defendants have pleaded guilty in the case, while the others, including Roman and Trump, have pleaded not guilty.
Charlie Gile reported from Atlanta, Dareh Gregorian from New York.