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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
George Chidi in Atlanta

Nathan Wade expects Trump to face trial in Georgia even if elected president

a man in a blue suit sits in court
Nathan Wade sits in court in Atlanta, Georgia, on 1 March 2024. Photograph: Alex Slitz/Reuters

Nathan Wade, former Fulton county special prosecutor in the Georgia election interference case against Donald Trump, said he expects Trump to eventually face trial in Georgia even if he is elected president.

Speaking to CNN’s Kaitlin Collins, Wade said the optics of trying a sitting president would be challenging. “But certainly, I don’t think that there’s anything that would prevent that from happening,” he added.

Wade resigned from the Fulton county district attorney’s office after his romantic relationship with the district attorney Fani Willis came to light in defense filings. Scott McAfee, a superior court judge, ruled that either Willis or Wade had to exit the Trump case. That ruling has become a basis for Trump’s appeal to the Georgia court of appeals seeking to remove Willis from the prosecution, as well as an end to the case.

In the interview, Wade said he believed defense attorneys used his personal relationship with Willis as a pretext to attack the case, and denied that it was significant to the case. “I believe in the indictment. Certainly, I would never have done anything that would have jeopardized that hard work. But do I believe my actions caused this delay? No, no,” Wade said.

He added that he had no regrets about his relationship, but acknowledged: “I do believe, though, the timing of the personal relationship I had was probably bad.”

Wade’s advisers interrupted the interview for a couple of minutes when Collins asked Wade when his relationship began with Willis. Wade began by saying, “There’s been this effort to say that these exact dates are at issue,” before hesitating.

“I’m getting signaled here,” he continued. Wade then took off his microphone and huddled in a corner of the room with another man for about 30 seconds before returning to dismiss the question as “a distraction and is not a relevant issue in this case”.

The timing of their relationship was a point of contention in hearings leading to McAfee’s ruling. Defense attorneys argued that hiring a romantic partner for a well-paid role was potentially an act of self-dealing corruption by Willis. The two testified that the relationship began after he was hired, though McAfee suggested in his ruling that some of their testimony strained credulity.

The election case is on hold until October while the appellate court considers arguments, though McAfee has pledged to continue trial activities for defendants that are not included in the appeal.

Willis and Wade still talk, but not about the trial, Wade said.

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