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Day two of Fani Willis hearing ends; Trump to appeal $350M fraud trial fine: Highlights

The judge also barred Trump “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years.”

The latest from the N.Y. civil fraud ruling and Georgia election interference case

  • Former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization were ordered to pay over $350 million in damages after Judge Arthur Engoron found that Trump and his executives had repeatedly engaged in fraud.
  • Trump confirmed in remarks from Mar-a-Lago tonight that he plans to appeal the judge's ruling. New York Attorney General Letitia James celebrated the ruling as "a massive victory for Americans who believe in the rule of law."
  • In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis did not take the stand today at a hearing on allegations that she had an improper relationship with her lead prosecutor in the state's election interference case against Trump and his co-defendants.
  • Willis' office called several witnesses today, including her father, in its effort to dispute allegations that she personally benefitted from the relationship with Wade. She denies the relationship was improper.
  • The misconduct allegations against Willis center on who paid for trips she took with the lead prosecutor, Nathan Wade, and could lead to her removal from the case.
  • The defendants' lawyers hit back, with an attorney for Trump saying today that Wade "testified falsely” yesterday when he said the relationship did not begin until 2022.

Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for Donald Trump, joins Alicia Menendez in for Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC’s "Deadline: White House" to discuss how damaging Judge Engoron’s ruling is to Trump.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Letitia James celebrates order as a 'massive victory'

Adam Reiss

Adam Reiss and Carly Roman

James celebrated Engoron's order as "a massive victory for Americans who believe in that simple but fundamental pillar of our democracy: that the rule of law applies to all of us equally, fairly, and justly."

"The scope of Donald Trump's fraud is staggering, and so too is his ego and his belief that the rules do not apply to him," she said. "Today, we are holding Donald Trump accountable."

The New York attorney general said her office was "holding Donald Trump accountable for lying, cheating, and a lack of contrition" after Engoron ordered the former president to pay $355 million in damages in the civil fraud cause brought by James.


N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump confirms he'll appeal Engoron's ruling

Trump said in remarks at Mar-a-Lago tonight that he planned to appeal Engoron's order.

"A crooked New York state judge just ruled that I have to pay a fine of $355 million for having built a perfect company," Trump said before declaring that he would appeal.

Trump also suggested that the ruling was further evidence of "election interference" and a "witch hunt," blaming Biden for his legal woes. He said the case was brought by a "horribly corrupt attorney general" and said Engoron, who ordered him to pay $355 million in damages, was a "corrupt judge" and "not a respected man."


N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump ordered to pay nearly $99M in interest

Adam Reiss

With pre-judgment interest, the judgment against Trump, his sons, business associates and company totals over $453 million.

Trump's portion alone consists of the more than $354 million in damages, plus $98.6 million in interest for a total of $453.5 million. That sum will continue to grow until he pays.

Georgia hearing: What comes next?

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Immediately following two days of testimony, McAfee asked to meet in private with Bradley and his lawyer to discuss attorney/client privilege as it pertains to the hearing.

Beyond that, McAfee said he would follow up with lawyers representing Trump and his co-defendants and lawyers representing Willis to schedule another court date.

McAfee, who has not yet ruled on the allegations against Willis and Wade, said it looked like that date would be late next week or the following week.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump fundraises off of judge's order

Dan Gallo

Dan Gallo and Zoë Richards

In a fundraising text blast this afternoon, Trump solicited financial contributions following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling.

"Breaking from Trump: Democrat New York judge just ruled against me! Election interference!" the text message says in all caps.

The message linked to a fundraising page sponsored by Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which includes Donald J. Trump for President 2024 Inc. and Save America.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: State A.G. calls ruling a 'tremendous victory'

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Adam Reiss

Alexandra Marquez and Adam Reiss

"Justice has been served," New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement today after Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling.

“For years, Donald Trump engaged in massive fraud to falsely inflate his net worth and unjustly enrich himself, his family, and his organization," James said.

She added, "while he may have authored the ‘Art of the Deal,’ our case revealed that his business was based on the art of the steal."

James also lauded the ruling for "finally" making Trump face "accountability for his lying, cheating and staggering fraud."

"No matter how big, rich, or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law,” she said.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump calls decision 'unAmerican'

In a series of posts on Truth Social following Judge Arthur Engoron's ruling, Trump called the decision, "illegal [and] unAmerican," claiming that New York's justice system is "under assault by partisan, deluded, biased Judges and Prosecutors."

Trump also attacked New York Attorney General Letitia James as "racist" and "corrupt," while calling Engoron, "crooked."

Georgia hearing: Court adjourns for the day

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

The court has adjourned in the hearing focused on allegations that could disqualify Willis from prosecuting Trump.

McAfee asked Bradley and his attorney, Bimal Chopra, to meet him in the jury room.

Georgia hearing: Evidence closed, no more state witnesses today

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Alexandra Marquez and Natalie Obregon

The state sought to call Ana Rodriguez, a former client of Bradley and Wade's law firm, to testify.

Cross, the lawyer for the district attorney's office, said Rodriguez' testimony would pertain to Bradley regarding the sexual assault allegations against him.

She will no longer be called to testify, and Judge McAfee announced that evidence would now be closed.

Georgia hearing: State calls next witness, former Wade law firm associate

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Lawyers for the district attorney's office have called their next witness, Austin Dabney.

Dabney said he worked at the law firm led by Wade, Bradley and Chris Campbell in recent years.

Cross, a lawyer for the district attorney's office, started asking Dabney about sexual assault allegations made against Bradley. Judge McAfee shot down the line of questioning.

Sadow, Trump's attorney, then questioned Dabney.

Georgia hearing: Bradley done for the day

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Alexandra Marquez and Natalie Obregon

McAfee has told Bradley to step down for the day.

Before that, lawyers for both sides asked the judge to re-examine his opinion on the attorney/client privilege between Wade and Bradley.

Earlier in the day, Bradley testified that his departure from the firm he ran with Wade fell under attorney/client privilege. During questioning by Cross, the lawyer from the district attorney's office, Bradley said that he left the firm in the wake of sexual assault allegations against him.

"Mr. Bradley previously testified the reason he left the firm was totally and completely covered by privilege. When asked by the state, he went into a factual situation that, to my mind, doesn't relate to privilege at all," McAfee said.

"Now I'm left wondering if Mr. Bradley has been properly interpreting privilege this entire time," he added.

Georgia hearing: Bradley acknowledges but denies sexual assault allegation against him

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Anna Cross, a lawyer from the district attorney's office, questioned Bradley about a sexual assault allegation that was made against him.

Bradley agreed that he left the firm he led with Wade in the wake of the allegation, but also said, "I didn't sexual assault anybody."

He acknowledged that he left money in an escrow account after he left the firm and that money was later paid to the person who made the assault allegation.

Georgia hearing: Bradley says 'I would' consider myself a friend to Wade

Natalie Obregon

Natalie Obregon and Carly Roman

Bradley said he considers himself a friend to Wade.

When asked, "You are no longer friends?" Bradley paused.

"I mean, if he's saying we're not friends, then — " he started.

Cross interjected: "I wanna know what you think, Mr. Bradley."

Bradley replied, "Would I consider myself a friend to Mr. Wade? I would."

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump Org. calls decision a 'gross miscarriage of justice'

The Trump Organization said in a statement that the ruling is a "gross miscarriage of justice" and said the company has "never missed any loan payment or been in default on any loan."

"The lenders in each of these transactions were some of the largest banks in the world, they were represented by the most prestigious law firms in the country, and they performed extensive due diligence prior to entering into these transactions — and in the end, Deutsche Bank and others made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits all while having an incredible relationship with our organization," the statement said.

The statement added that every member of the business community in New York should be "gravely concerned with this gross overreach and brazen attempt by the Attorney General to exert limitless power where no private or public harm has been established. If allowed to stand, this ruling will only further expedite the continuing exodus of companies from New York.”

Georgia hearing: Break has ended

The break has ended and Merchant said she has no more witnesses today.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Donald Trump Jr. tweets 'It's truly sad'

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

After the ruling, Donald Trump Jr. wrote on X: "We’ve reached the point where your political beliefs combined with what venue your case is heard are the primary determinants of the outcome; not the facts of the case!"

Trump Jr. testified at the monthslong trial.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump could soon face over $400M in legal penalties. Can he afford it?

Trump says his brand alone is worth over $10 billion, but a pair of civil verdicts could cause financial havoc for him, legal experts said.

Read the full story here.

Georgia hearing: Proceedings pause for brief break

The hearing has paused for a five-minute break. Cross estimated that she'll need 90 minutes for her questions when they return.

N.Y. civil fraud ruling: Trump rep calls decision culmination of a 'witch hunt'

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Alina Habba, legal spokeswoman for Trump, said in a statement that the ruling is a "manifest injustice" and is the "culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt that was designed to 'take down Donald Trump,' before Letitia James ever stepped foot into the Attorney General’s office."

"Countless hours of testimony proved that there was no wrongdoing, no crime, and no victim," she said. "Given the grave stakes, we trust that the Appellate Division will overturn this egregious verdict and end this relentless persecution against my clients."

Georgia hearing: Gillen questions whether Bradley and Wade even had an attorney/client relationship

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Craig Gillen, the attorney for Trump co-defendant David Shafer, questioned Bradley about the nature of Bradley and Wade's attorney/client relationship.

Gillen has asked whether Bradley and Wade signed a letter of engagement when Bradley started representing Wade in his divorce. He also asked whether Bradley got paid for representing Wade.

Bradley pushed back, stating that he represented Wade in divorce hearings, signed documents as his attorney and interacted with opposing attorneys in the divorce on Wade's behalf.

McAfee also sustained several objections related to this line of questioning.

Judge fines Trump more than $300 million, bars from running businesses in N.Y. for three years

Adam Reiss

Adam Reiss and Dareh Gregorian

The judge who presided over a civil business fraud trial against Donald Trump and his company has issued his decision in the case.

Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the former president and the Trump Organization to pay over $300 million in damages, and bars Trump “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years.”

Read the full story here.

Bradley: 'I do not recall' whether Wade mentioned socializing with Willis before November 2021

Natalie Obregon

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon and Alexandra Marquez

Asked about whether Wade and Willis socialized outside of work prior to November 2021, Bradley said he could not recall.

“I do not recall at this time whether or not he ever mentioned any dinners or socializing,” Bradley concluded.

Bradley admits that they spoke about a contract between Wade and Bradley's law firm and the district attorney's office before November 2021. He also recalled one dinner that he attended close to when Willis was sworn in as district attorney that he said included himself, Wade, Willis, basketball star Shaquille O'Neal and others.

The timeline of a personal relationship between Willis and Wade is a key element to the allegations against the district attorney. While Wade said their relationship did not begin until 2022, defense attorneys have contended that it began earlier.

Judge asks defense attorney for the relevance of her line of questioning

Natalie Obregon

Natalie Obregon and Carly Roman

McAfee admonished Merchant, asking the defense attorney to explain the relevance of her line of questioning.

After Merchant asked several questions about contracts, McAfee said, "Ms. Merchant, I haven't really heard a point in a while. Can we get along to something, or we're gonna have to wrap it up?"

When Merchant then asked Bradley about his group texts, McAfee told her, "You're going to have to narrow that down," noting, "I'm sure he's sent many texts."

"Isn't it true that the only texts that you and I have ever had have been between me and you; me, you, and Mr. Chopra; or me, you, and John Merchant, correct?" Merchant asked.

As Bradley consulted his phone, McAfee asked, "And what's the relevance of that, Ms. Merchant?"

"They've said multiple times that there's this third party that we've talked to and I'm trying to establish there's no third party, and I don't know why it was relevant, but the state's argued it," Merchant replied.

McAfee replied that he thinks Merchant "was able to show what maybe launched this."

Bradley: I 'rarely saw Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade together' at D.A.'s office

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Alexandra Marquez and Natalie Obregon

During a line of questioning about contracts Bradley and Wade's law firm had with the D.A.'s office, Bradley testified that he "rarely saw Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade together" in the D.A.'s office.

Bradley said that Wade spent over 50% of his time at the D.A.’s office, adding that the law firm did multiple types of contract work with Willis' office.

New York fraud trial: Trump lawyer says she will appeal any decision

Vaughn Hillyard and Dan Gallo

Alina Habba, Trump’s attorney in the New York civil fraud trial, told Charlie Kirk on his radio talk show today that his legal team intends to “file an appeal within 30 days” after Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision drops this afternoon.

In September, Engoron already ruled that Trump had repeatedly engaged in financial fraud and ordered for the “dissolution” of multiple Trump entities, including the Trump Organization, as part of an unspecified process to be overseen by a receiver. Those decisions were appealed by Trump’s team and were placed on hold by a New York appeals court.

The judge is now tasked with determining the issue of intent and what penalties Trump and his company should pay. Attorney General Letitia James is seeking $370 million and a ban on Trump’s conducting further business in the New York real estate industry, among other penalties.

Trump attorney: 'Our position is that Mr. Wade testified falsely'

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Attorneys for the defendants are trying to compel Bradley to testify to the date that Wade and Willis started dating. Attorneys from the district attorney's office argue that any communications about the start of Wade and Willis' romantic relationship fall under attorney/client privilege between Wade and Bradley.

The defense attorneys believe that Bradley can testify that Wade and Willis' romantic relationship began earlier than they testified.

“Our position is that Mr. Wade testified falsely” when he said the relationship did not begin until 2022, Trump's attorney, Steve Sadow, said.

Attorney/client privilege again at issue

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Objections by Bradley's lawyer and attorneys for the district attorney's office continue to impede Merchant's line of questioning.

Now, Bimal Chopra, Bradley's attorney, and Cross, the district attorney's office lawyer, are saying that Bradley testifying to his personal knowledge of when Wade and Willis' relationship began violates his attorney/client privilege with Wade.

Lawyers argue about relevance of text messages

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Merchant is attempting to ask Bradley questions about text messages exchanged between them about Willis and Wade, which Cross, an attorney for the District Attorney's office, is repeatedly objecting to.

Cross says she doesn't understand why Merchant is asking about the texts, but so far Judge McAfee has allowed Merchant to probe Bradley about the texts.

What happens if Fulton County DA Fani Willis is disqualified from the Trump racketeering case?

If a Georgia judge signs off on a bid to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from her racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and numerous co-defendants, it could delay any trial until well after the 2024 election — and possibly scuttle the charges altogether, legal experts told NBC News.

For a new prosecutor to take over the sprawling 15-defendant case would be a “massive undertaking,” said Amy Lee Copeland, a defense lawyer and former federal prosecutor in Georgia, adding that the theoretical new prosecutor could decide to amend the charges or even “decide not to pursue it.”

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee held an evidentiary hearing on Thursday and Friday over misconduct allegations that have been aimed at Willis and the special prosecutor she appointed to the case, Nathan Wade. Michael Roman, one of Trump’s co-defendants, alleged the pair engaged in an “improper, clandestine personal relationship” and “have enriched themselves off this case.”

Willis and Wade have denied any wrongdoing. McAfee has not yet ruled on the motion, but said earlier this week, “Because I think it’s possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification, I think an evidentiary hearing must occur to establish the record on those core allegations.”

Read the full story here.

Bradley back on the stand

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Terrence Bradley, Wade's former law partner who represented Wade in his divorce proceedings at one point, is on the witness stand.

Hearing resumes

Natalie Obregon

The hearing has resumed.

Court breaks for lunch

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

McAfee announced that they will take a break until 1 p.m. ET.

Floyd said he didn't know Willis dated Wade until 7 weeks ago

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Rebecca Shabad and Natalie Obregon

Floyd said didn't learn about Willis' relationship with Wade until seven weeks ago when Merchant filed a motion revealing it.

Floyd said Willis kept the relationship a secret from him. He added that as far as the trips his daughter took with Wade, he was only aware of trips she was taking, not who she was traveling with.

There was also laughter in the room when he confirmed that she didn't confide in him about her relationships, "and I hadn’t confided in her about mine when I had one, OK?"

Floyd says he taught Willis to always keep cash in the house

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Rebecca Shabad and Natalie Obregon

Floyd said he always taught Willis to keep cash in the house and described an incident in which he was declined the use of credit or a check due to racial discrimination as an example of why.

"Maybe excuse me, and ... I’m not trying to be racist, OK. It’s a black thing,” Floyd said. “Most black folks hide cash, or keep cash."

He added, “I gave her her first cash box and told her always keep some cash.”

Floyd met Wade in 2023 for the first time

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Rebecca Shabad and Natalie Obregon

Floyd said he met Wade for the first time in 2023. He said he didn't meet him in 2019 or 2020.

Floyd said that he met him when Wade walked in while Floyd was being interviewed by Michael Isikoff, a journalist who co-wrote a book about the election interference case.

He said Wade remembers meeting him at Willis' swearing-in, but Floyd said he doesn't really remember.

Willis' father says he was concerned for his daughter's safety after she was elected

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Natalie Obregon

Rebecca Shabad and Natalie Obregon

Floyd said that Willis was forced to move after she was elected. He said she was sworn in on Jan. 1, 2021, and around Feb. 3, at 5:30 a.m., there were people outside the home cursing and yelling and calling her the "b-word" and "N-word."

“I hadn’t seen anything like it before," he said.

“She was forced to leave," Floyd said about Willis. He said he stayed there until 2022.

Floyd said he feared for his daughter's safety.

“They said they would blow up the house," he said. "They were gonna kill her. They were gonna kill me. They were gonna kill my grandchildren. I mean, on and on and on. And it just, it became — and I was concerned for her safety.”

Barnes confirms the date of his meeting with Willis about the special prosecutor offer

Natalie Obregon

Former Gov. Roy Barnes returned to the courtroom to tell the court that his calendar showed the meeting with Willis over whether he would be interested in working as a special prosecutor was Oct. 26, 2021.

Willis' father takes the stand

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Willis' father, John Floyd III, has taken the stand. He's a retired attorney.

Judge says Bradley might be in violation of his subpoena

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Bradley, the witness that the court has been waiting on, is still at his doctor's appointment. Attorneys said that they would prefer he appear in person for testimony rather than via Zoom.

Judge McAfee said that Bradley, who was Wade's law partner, might be in violation of his subpoena because he wasn't made aware of the medical appointment, and witnesses were warned the hearing could take place for two days.

Atlanta mayor spotted in courtroom

Blayne Alexander

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Blayne Alexander and Rebecca Shabad

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens was in the courtroom and he left around the time Barnes' testimony ended.

Barnes says he wasn't surprised Wade was ultimately chosen as special prosecutor

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Trump's lawyer, Steve Sadow, asked Barnes about his interactions with Wade, and Barnes said he wasn't surprised Wade was ultimately chosen as a special prosecutor.

Barnes said Wade is a good organizer.

Former Ga. Gov. Roy Barnes testifies Willis asked him in 2021 if he'd serve as a special prosecutor

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served from 1999 to 2003, was called by the D.A.'s office as a witness.

In response to questions from Adam Abbate from the D.A.'s office, Barnes said he was approached by Willis in 2021 about potentially being a special prosecutor investigating interference in the 2020 election by Trump and others.

Barnes said he met with Willis and Wade. He explained that there had been threats against him and he didn't want to have more security as a special prosecutor as he had as governor.

"I told her I'm not interested," Barnes said.

Court is back in session

The court is back in session, but Terrence Bradley still hasn't arrived, so lawyers are planning to call other witnesses instead.

Willis took the stand to defend her reputation and save her election interference case against former President Donald Trump as defense attorneys try to get her kicked off. NBC’s Laura Jarrett reports for "TODAY."

Trump opts against Supreme Court appeal on civil immunity claim over Jan. 6 lawsuits

Lawsuits seeking to hold Donald Trump personally accountable for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol can move forward after the former president chose not to take his broad immunity claim to the Supreme Court.

Trump had a Thursday deadline to file a petition at the Supreme Court contesting an appeals court decision from December that rejected his immunity arguments, but he did not do so.

The appeals court made it clear that Trump could still claim immunity later in the proceedings in three cases brought by Capitol Police officers and members of Congress.

“President Trump will continue to fight for presidential immunity all across the spectrum,” said Steven Cheung, a Trump spokesman.

The civil lawsuits against Trump are separate from the criminal case against him that also arose from Jan. 6. On Monday, Trump asked the justices to put that case on hold on immunity grounds.

Read the full story here.

Trump's attorney wants his name pronounced right: 'It's SAY-DOW'

Natalie Obregon

What goes on in the courtroom while everyone is waiting for testimony to resume? Trump's attorney Steve Sadow just stood up and asked if CNN was in the gallery to confirm how to say his last name. “It’s SAY-DOW,” he emphasized.

He said his wife wanted CNN to get it right.

Bradley set to testify after he returns from a doctor's appointment

Alexandra Marquezis based in Washington, D.C.

Lawyers were ready to move forward with testimony from Terrence Bradley, one of Wade's law partners, but a member of his legal team notified Judge McAfee that he is at a doctor's appointment.

The case now stands in recess until they're able to move forward with testimony.

Fani Willis not returning to the stand as expected

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Willis will not be returning to the stand to provide additional testimony, which was expected Friday morning. The DA's office said it has no further questions.

Court is in session

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The court hearing has begun.

Trump suggests without evidence that Fani Willis lied on the stand

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

The former president, in a series of posts on his Truth Social account, suggested without evidence that Fani Willis lied on the stand when she said she repaid Nathan Wade for trips they took together.

"Fani never paid cash. She got free trips and other things from her lover, with the exorbitant amounts of money she authorized to be paid to him. A giant scam. Witch hunt!!!" he wrote in all caps last night.

Willis testified that she paid Wade back for trips in cash.

Trump also claimed that legal experts think Willis should be disqualified.

"It was a FAKE CASE from the start, and now everybody sees it for what it is, a MAJOR LEAGUE SCANDAL!" he wrote. "The legal pundits, experts, and scholars are all screaming that this Witch Hunt, which has hurt so many fine people and patriots, should be immediately terminated and permanently erased from everyone’s memory. The stench of what has happened should shame Georgia no longer. It should get back to GREATNESS, and FAST!!!"

Who showed up at court to hear yesterday's testimony

Blayne Alexander

One notable thing about yesterday's hearing was how packed the courtroom was — including a group of community members who had come to support Willis. 

Among them was former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin (the city’s first female mayor) who had also served as a co-chair of Willis’s transition team. 

Also present was Charlie Bailey, the former Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, for whom Willis threw a fundraiser that ultimately got her disqualified from prosecuting Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, who served as a fake elector in the state in 2020 and was running in the same race as Bailey. 

Several members of the clergy also came to support Willis. One who returned this morning for the second day of her testimony said he and several other ministers met with Willis yesterday morning to encourage and pray with her. 

Willis told them at that meeting that she wanted to testify and was hoping she would be called, he said, describing her as “excited” to testify. 

This morning, a line of mostly reporters started forming before 7 a.m. to enter the courthouse. As of 8 a.m., there appear to be more than two dozen people waiting. 

Willis took the stand to deny misconduct allegations made against her in the Trump Georgia election interference case. NBC News’ Danny Cevallos explores whether Willis’ testimony was effective and if she stayed consistent with special prosecutor Nathan Wade’s testimony.

Here's what happened during yesterday's hearing

+2

Rebecca Shabadis in Washington, D.C.

Charlie Gile

  • Robin Yeartie, who first met Willis in college and worked in the Fulton County DA’s office until 2022, testified that Wade and Willis engaged in “hugging, kissing, just affection” as early as November 2021, which would contradict an affidavit they signed earlier. 
  • Wade was the next major witness to testify on the stand Thursday. He said that his relationship with Willis began in early 2022 and he first met Willis at a judicial conference in 2019. Wade testified that Willis reimbursed him in cash for trips they took together. He said Willis attracts a lot of attention while traveling, and therefore tries to limit her transactions, suggesting that he paid “for safety reasons.”
  • Willis was defiant in her testimony on the stand, saying that Ashleigh Merchant, one of Trump’s co-defendant's lawyers, “lied” about her relationship with Wade. She told Merchant on Thursday, “You’re confused. You think I’m on trial. These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. … I’m not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial.”
  • Wade and Willis said that their relationship ended sometime during the summer of 2023.

Fani Willis misconduct hearing resumes in Trump Georgia election case 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is set to resume her bombshell testimony Friday in a hearing that threatens to derail the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump.

The district attorney’s office is expected to call at least three new witnesses to the stand, including Willis’ father, while seeking to quash a push for her airline records. A dispute over who paid for trips Willis took with the lead prosecutor in the case against Trump is at the center of the allegations against her.

An attorney for one of Trump’s co-defendants said Willis’ Delta Air Lines records may reflect previously undisclosed trips by Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade amid claims that Willis personally benefited from their relationship. The attorneys face misconduct allegations that could lead to Willis’ removal from the case.

Willis dropped her bid to avoid testifying in a surprise turn Thursday, taking the stand after a former friend disputed the timeline of her relationship with Wade. Willis acknowledged this month that she had a personal relationship with Wade but denied that it was improper. 

Read the full story here.