Former Harvard Professor Warns Fani Willis May Have Committed Perjury

A former law professor weighs in on the latest controversy.
Former Harvard Professor Warns Fani Willis May Have Committed Perjury
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Feb. 15, 2024. (Alyssa Pointer/Pool via Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz said that Fulton County’s district attorney may have lied under oath last week during hours of testimony in court to determine whether she would be disqualified from prosecuting a case in Georgia against former President Donald Trump.

The district attorney, Fani Willis, is prosecuting a case against President Trump and more than a dozen co-defendants, alleging that they were involved in a criminal conspiracy to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

Ms. Willis was grilled by defense lawyers on Feb. 15 regarding her relationship with special counsel Nathan Wade, including about when their relationship started and whether she paid Mr. Wade back for multiple vacations.

A co-defendant in the Trump case filed a motion last month that accused her of concealing the relationship and of profiting from taxpayer funds after her office paid Mr. Wade.

Defense lawyers contended that the relationship started before Ms. Willis hired Mr. Wade and that she improperly benefited from his earnings, creating a conflict of interest that should disqualify the district attorney from the case. Robin Yeartie, Ms. Willis’s former friend and co-worker, testified on Feb. 15 that she saw the two hugging and kissing before Mr. Wade was hired in November 2021.

Attorneys for the state called two key witnesses of their own on Feb. 16: Ms. Willis’s father, who said he didn’t know about his daughter’s relationship until recently, and former Gov. Roy Barnes, who testified that Ms. Willis asked him to serve as special prosecutor, testimony the attorneys used to back her claim that Mr. Wade wasn’t her first choice for the job.

Mr. Dershowitz said on Fox News that there is a plausible case that Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis committed perjury. He said that Mr. Wade “clearly” committed perjury during his testimony on Feb. 15, during which he “swore under oath, essentially,” that he did not have sexual relations with Ms. Willis but later admitted that he did when his “marriage had broken down.”

Regarding similar statements from Ms. Willis in court, Mr. Dershowitz noted that there was at least one witness who testified that their relationship occurred much earlier than what Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis claimed.

“I think there is a plausible case for perjury here, but I think there is an open and shut case regarding disqualification based on the appearance of impropriety,” he added. “When you admit that you paid for all these trips on your credit cards, then the burden of proof shifts to the other side to demonstrate that there was payback in cash.”

Both Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis stated that during their vacations and various trips, Mr. Wade would pay with his credit card, although he provided no receipts. The pair said that she would pay him back in cash, although neither provided any record of this.

“The fact that there are no records and the payments all have records but the repayments have no records gives rise to a plausible interpretation that that’s not true,” he said. There may have been a financial benefit that “accrued to the district attorney,” Mr. Dershowitz said while suggesting Judge Scott McAfee could say that it gives the appearance of impropriety and disqualify both lawyers.

He later added that because similar charges were filed against President Trump in Washington, there’s no need for a case in Fulton County.

The former president was facing federal charges in Washington—like in Fulton County—for illegally attempting to overturn the 2020 election; that case was brought by federal special counsel Jack Smith.

What could remedy the situation, Mr. Dershowitz said, is placing the case in a different jurisdiction and appointing a new, independent prosecutor to determine whether there is enough to charge President Trump and his co-defendants under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz, then a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, speaks to the press in the Senate Reception Room during the Senate impeachment trial at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 29, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Attorney Alan Dershowitz, then a member of President Donald Trump’s legal team, speaks to the press in the Senate Reception Room during the Senate impeachment trial at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 29, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Although it is not clear how the judge will rule on the matter, the allegations threaten to taint the public’s perception of one of four criminal proceedings facing the former president and have provided an opening for President Trump and his Republican allies to try to cast doubt on the case’s legitimacy as he vies to reclaim the White House in November.

On the witness stand on Feb. 15, the Fulton County district attorney took a combative tone—even with the judge—and tried to push back against any suggestion that her relationship with Mr. Wade created a conflict of interest. She accused a defense attorney of trying to smear her with salacious lies to discredit the case against the former president. Her team opted not to bring her back on Feb. 16.

Last week, Judge McAfee stated that he won’t rule on whether Ms. Willis and her office should be disqualified from the case until after attorneys for both sides have a chance to present arguments, which he said would likely happen in the next couple of weeks. Previously, he said Ms. Willis could be removed from the case “if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.”

The Epoch Times contacted the the Fulton County DA’s office for comment Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter with 15 years experience who started as a local New York City reporter. Having joined The Epoch Times' news team in 2009, Jack was born and raised near Modesto in California's Central Valley. Follow him on X:
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