OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been laser-focused on getting former President Donald Trump, but now it is she who is in the hot seat.
It appears that the district attorney did not disclose an airline ticket that was purchased for her by her alleged lover and Trump prosecutor, Nathan Wade, in 2022 financial documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation indicate.
“Willis did not disclose any gifts from Wade on her annual Income and Financial Disclosure Report for 2022, which requires the disclosure of any gift or favor above $100 from a ‘prohibited source’ — such as anyone ‘doing business with the county.’ Willis hired Wade as a special prosecutor on the election interference case against former President Donald Trump. Willis was recently accused of being Wade’s lover and inappropriately benefiting from lucrative contracts her office had given him,” The Daily Caller reported.
Bank statements obtained in a court filing show that Wade purchased a ticket to Miami for Willis for $477 in October 2022. On the same day as he purchased the airline ticket, he also made payments to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in the amounts of $1,387 and $1,284.
“The bottom line is, that’s why we have these forms,” Richard Painter, former chief White House ethics lawyer during the George W. Bush administration, said to The Daily Caller News Foundation. He said that they are meant to disclose “exactly these kinds of conflicts of interest.”
“She needs to give an explanation as to why it wasn’t on the form,” he said.
“Wade’s contract with the district attorney’s office started on Nov. 1, 2021, and he filed to divorce his wife the next day. He has earned nearly $654,000 from the district attorney’s office since 2022, according to county data,” the report said.
“Filling out the disclosure form is required for all elected officials under the Fulton County Code of Ethics The form requires disclosure of ‘each gift or favor from a single prohibited source in the aggregate amount of $100.00 or more,’” it said.
Willis could be in a jam because of her failure to disclose these gifts, former White House Counsel Courtney Kramer said to The Daily Caller.
“If she’s found to have intentionally lied on those forms, that’s not just an ethics violation,” she said.
She said that in addition to potential monetary payments, there could also be “potential for criminal liability.”
Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway spoke to The Daily Caller News Foundation and said that these gifts add to a growing list of things Willis needs to explain.
“If a senior Fulton County official accepts prohibited gifts from a contractor who does business with Fulton County or who hopes to in the future, not only is it wrong to accept such a gift, it is, of course, wrong to fail to disclose it on the required financial disclosure forms,” the attorney said.
“This ethics rule is designed to prevent kickbacks,” he said. “In my view, it is extremely reckless for an elected official to engage in any kind of nepotism, but it is especially reckless if such official is personally enriched by virtue of nepotism.”
The judge on the case she brought against former President Donald Trump on election fraud charges has now ordered an investigation into her alleged misconduct, that she and her lead prosecutor engaged in an improper relationship and mishandled taxpayer dollars, The Washington Post reported.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said that Willis has until Feb. 2 to respond to the accusations.
This could force the district attorney to have to address the issue in televised court proceedings which could derail her case against Trump and his codefendants and could do significant damage to her political career.
Willis has also filed a motion to block a subpoena that could have her testifying in the divorce case of Wade, her reportedly lover.