Judge Questions Credibility of Fani Willis’s Father During Testimony

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
February 20, 2024US News
Judge Questions Credibility of Fani Willis’s Father During Testimony
John Floyd III, father of Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis, testifies during a hearing on 'misconduct' allegations against Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Ga., on Feb. 16, 2024. (Alyssa Pointer/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

A Georgia judge suggested that the credibility of a key witness in the case against Fulton County Fani Willis could be tainted because he appeared to violate sequestration rules before testifying at a hearing last week.

John Floyd, the father of Ms. Willis, was called in as a state’s witness to testify in favor of the embattled district attorney on Feb. 16 regarding her living situation and alleged cash repayments Ms. Willis made. Last month, a co-defendant in the sprawling racketeering and election case against President Donald Trump, which Ms. Willis brought, said that she engaged in an improper relationship with her special counsel, Nathan Wade, and benefitted financially from the arrangement.

Ashleigh Merchant, a lawyer for the co-defendant who brought the motion against the district attorney, attempted to strike Mr. Floyd’s testimony after he said he was aware of Ms. Willis’s testimony from the previous day because the case is everywhere in the media and that he reads newspapers every day. Ms. Merchant noted that under the rules of the court, witnesses have to be sequestered and can’t be aware of other witnesses’ testimony.

But Judge Scott McAfee denied the request to strike his testimony from the record but suggested that Mr. Floyd had violated the rule.

“I don’t think the remedy is necessarily striking,” the judge said. “I think it can also go to his credibility as well.”

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade admitted in court to having a romantic relationship but pushed back on claims that either received a financial benefit after her office hired him. The two said that various vacations the pair took were paid for via Mr. Wade’s credit card and that the district attorney paid him back in cash, although there is no evidence or paper records of this.

Earlier, a witness who said she was a former friend of Ms. Willis and once worked in the district attorney’s office said that their relationship started at least two years earlier than the date given by Mr. Wade and Ms. Willis. She told the court that she saw both “hugging” and “kissing” in 2019, while the two said it started in 2022, or after he was hired by the district attorney’s office.

During his testimony, Mr. Floyd claimed that the cash payments are “a black thing” while also saying that he only met Mr. Wade in 2023.

Testimony from the witness, Robin Yeartie, drew a forceful and combative response from Ms. Willis during her Feb. 15 testimony. At one point, she accused the defense attorneys and Ms. Yeartie of lying before Judge McAfee called a break.

“Do 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,” she told Ms. Merchant. At another point, the district attorney said, “Merchant’s interests are contrary to democracy.”

Although she was expected to take the witness stand again on Feb. 16, the state called it off with little explanation.

During the testimony on Feb. 16, Mr. Wade also admitted to having intercourse with Ms. Willis during his separation from his estranged wife, even though he had claimed in a divorce filing that wasn’t the case. That admission and Ms. Yeartie’s testimony together 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.

Mr. Wade, who took the stand after the judge refused to quash a subpoena for his testimony, testified that he and the district attorney traveled together to Belize, Aruba, and California and took cruises together. During Ms. Willis’s testimony, she told the court that she never spoke of their relationship to anyone else in the office.

“She was very emphatic and adamant about this independent, strong woman thing so she demanded that she paid her own way,” Mr. Wade said.

NTD Photo
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, Ga., on Feb. 15, 2024. (Alyssa Pointer/Pool/Getty Images)

The revelation of Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade’s romantic relationship has provided an opening for President Trump and his allies to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the case, which the former president has said is politically motivated. Other Republicans have called for investigations into Ms. Willis, a Democrat who’s up for reelection this year.

The former president and his co-defendants, meanwhile, have argued that the relationship presents a conflict of interest that should force Ms. Willis off the case.

Judge McAfee said last week that another hearing is needed to allow the attorneys to make their cases over whether Mr. Wade or Ms. Willis should be disqualified. It’s not clear when that hearing will be held.

After that, the judge will likely issue a ruling on whether the pair should be disqualified.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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