Trump Co-Defendant Says Fani Willis Should Step Down ‘For Her Own Sake’

The judge said Ms.Willis could be disqualified ‘if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.’
Trump Co-Defendant Says Fani Willis Should Step Down ‘For Her Own Sake’
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

A co-defendant in the Trump election case in Fulton County, Georgia, suggested District Attorney Fani Willis should step down “for her own sake.”

Co-defendant Trevian Kutti said Ms. Willis should step down from her role as she testified on Feb. 15 amid allegations that she engaged in an improper relationship with her special counsel, Nathan Wade, and allegations that she improperly used state funds to pay for vacations.

Ms. Kutti, who was indicted on charges of witness intimidation and making false statements last year, said that the Fulton district attorney “should have recused herself” in the case “for her own sake.” Ms. Kutti made the remarks as she attended Ms. Willis’ misconduct hearing last week.

During the hearing, a visibly angry Willis agreed to testify after a previous witness said her relationship with Mr. Wade began earlier than they had claimed. Both Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade confirmed they were in a relationship, but both said it started in 2022, or after he was hired by the district attorney’s office, while the witness said it began in 2019.

The district attorney’s testimony grew heated under questioning from an attorney who’s trying to remove Ms. Willis from former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case. At one point Ms. Willis raised papers in front of her and shouted: “It’s a lie!” She also denied that Mr. Wade used state funds to pay for vacations, with both claiming she paid him back in cash after he used his credit card.

When asked by a local reporter about why she attended the hearing, Ms. Kutti said she thought it was “a phenomenal moment for justice and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”

“I’m definitely innocent and I’m not worried about the specifics. I just want to be informed and when I have my day in court, whether it happens or not, I’m ready,” she added.

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade have argued in court papers that they engaged in no wrongdoing and have, so far, refused to step down in the case. During the hearing, Ms. Willis accused defense lawyer Ashleigh Merchant, who filed the motion accusing the two of being in an improper relationship, of having “interests are contrary to democracy.”

Regarding testimony from Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis about their relationship, Ms. Kutti said, “There was a lot of roundabout, a lot of spin, but eventually Judge [Scott] McAfee, who I think has been very good in this case at bringing things back full circle, he demanded the yes and no answers.”

The co-defendant, who told the reporter she traveled from Chicago to Atlanta, added that she is “just paying attention to make sure I’m fully immersed in all of the movement in this case.”

Other co-defendants in the case, including President Trump, argued that the relationship presents a conflict of interest that should force Ms. Willis off the case. Mr. Wade sought to downplay the matter, casting himself and Ms. Willis as “private people,” while Ms. Willis told the court she never told anyone in the district attorney’s office about their relationship.

Robin Yeartie, a former friend and co-worker of the district attorney, testified earlier on Feb. 15 that she saw the district attorney and Mr. Wade hugging and kissing before he was hired as special prosecutor in November 2021.

Admissions from Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade combined with Ms. Yeartie’s testimony threaten to undermine the prosecutors’ credibility as they prepare for trial in the case accusing President Trump and others of conspiring to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.

If Ms. Willis is disqualified, a council supporting prosecuting attorneys in Georgia will appoint a new attorney to take over. This attorney could then choose to either proceed with the charges against President Trump and 14 others or drop the case altogether.

Judge McAfee last week said that Ms. Willis could be disqualified “if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.”

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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