Fulton County prosecutor Nathan Wade withdraws from Trump case, allowing DA Fani Willis to continue

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Fulton County special prosecutor Nathan Wade has withdrawn from the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants. 

Wade is out following an order by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee that said either he must go or District Attorney Fani Willis be disqualified from prosecuting Trump. Four co-defendants had accused Willis of having an “improper” affair with Wade, whom she hired to help prosecute the case. 

Wade offered his resignation in a letter to Willis, saying he was doing so “in the interest of democracy.”

“I am offering my resignation in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public, and to move this case forward as quickly as possible,” Wade wrote in his resignation letter to Willis. 

He added that he was proud of the work prosecutors had done in relation to the case. 


Nathan Wade

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade sits in court during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on March 1, 2024, in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Alex Slitz-Pool/Getty Images)

In her letter to Wade in which she accepted his resignation, Willis complimented him on his “professionalism and dignity” as he had “endured threats against you and your family, as well as unjustified attacks in the media and in court on your reputation as a lawyer.”

“I will always remember – and will remind everyone – that you were brave enough to step forward and take on the investigation and prosecution of the allegations that the defendants in this case engaged in a conspiracy to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election,” Willis wrote. “You were the one who had the courage to accept the role, even though you did not seek it.”

“You are an outstanding advocate,” she added. 

On his Truth Social platform, Trump said Wade resigned in “disgrace.”

“Nathan was the ‘Special,’ in more ways than one, Prosecutor ‘engaged’ by Fani (pronounced Fauni!) Willis, to persecute TRUMP for Crooked Joe Biden and his Department of Injustice, for purposes of Election Interference and living the life of the Rich & Famous,” he wrote. “This is the equivalent of Deranged Jack Smith getting ‘canned,’ BIG STUFF, something which should happen in the not too distant future!!!”

The defendants alleged that Willis benefited financially by hiring Wade in 2021 because they were in a pre-existing romantic relationship and went on several trips together. Michael Roman, a Republican operative who worked on Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, claimed Wade’s law firm billed taxpayers $650,000 at a rate of $250 an hour since his hiring — and that he used that income to pay for vacations with Willis.


Fani Willis, Nathan Wade

Willis — the district attorney for Fulton County, Georgia — previously said the allegations brought against her of having an “improper” romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade were made because she is Black. (Getty Images)

Both Wade and Willis had denied they were in a romantic relationship prior to his hiring. During a two-day evidentiary hearing in February, they each testified that they split the cost of their shared trips. Willis told the court she reimbursed Wade for her share of the trips in cash.

Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, sought to unearth a money trail that would prove Willis had a conflict of interest in hiring Wade and should be disqualified. She called witnesses who testified that the couple were romantically entangled at the time Wade was hired.

Robin Yeartie, a former “good friend” of Willis and past employee at the DA’s office, said she had “no doubt” that Wade and Willis started a relationship in 2019, after the two met at a conference.

Yeartie testified to observing Willis and Wade “hugging” and “kissing” and showing “affection” prior to November 2021, and that she had no doubt that the two were in a “romantic” relationship starting in 2019, to when she and Willis last spoke in 2022. 

In a surprise move, Willis took the stand in her own defense and contradicted Yeartie’s testimony. At least one expert described Willis’ testimony as “belligerent.” 


ashleigh merchant in court

Ashleigh Merchant, attorney for Michael Roman, listens next to her husband John Merchant, who also represents Roman, during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump on February 12, 2024 at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia. Former US President Donald Trump and 17 others are charged in an indictment that accuses them of illegally conspiring to subvert the will of Georgia voters in the 2020 presidential election.  (Alyssa Pointer-Pool/Getty Images)

She verbally sparred with lawyers for hours, at one point, prompting the judge to threaten to strike her testimony. She also raised eyebrows for appearing to be wearing her dress backwards.

The star witness for the defense, Terrence Bradley, was a former law firm partner and divorce attorney for Wade. Bradley was called to the stand after McAfee determined he could not claim attorney-client privilege to avoid testifying. 

Bradley, when pressed under oath, said he couldn’t recall several details and timelines about conversations he had with former client Wade about Wade’s romantic relationship with Willis.

Merchant at one point referenced text messages between her and Bradley in which she had asked Bradley if he thought the relationship started before Willis hired Wade in 2021. Bradley responded “absolutely” in the text exchange.

But after the hearing concluded, McAfee said the defendants “failed to meet their burden of proving that the District Attorney acquired an actual conflict of interest in this case through her personal relationship and recurring travels with her lead prosecutor.”

“However, the established record now highlights a significant appearance of impropriety that infects the current structure of the prosecution team — an appearance that must be removed through the State’s selection of one of two options,” he wrote in an order released on March 15.

Judge Scott McAfee

Judge Scott McAfee at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Feb. 15.  (Alyssa Pointer, Getty Images)

McAfee is presiding over the prosecution of Trump and more than a dozen other defendants charged in an alleged illegal attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. 

Willis’ sprawling indictment charges Trump and more than a dozen other defendants with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. The case uses a statute normally associated with mobsters to accuse the former president, lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power after he narrowly lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.


Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for 2024, has denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty.

On March 13, McAfee issued a ruling that quashed six counts in the Georgia election interference case against Trump and his 18 co-defendants. McAfee said that the state failed to allege sufficient detail for “solicitation of violation of oath by public officer.” 

In his letter, Wade said he was sure the case against Trump “will be in good hands moving forward and justice will be served.”

Fox News Digital’s Brianna Herlihy and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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