Breaking Down the Key Moments and Testimony from the Explosive Fani Willis Disqualification Hearing

Alyssa Pointer/Pool Photo via AP

In a bombshell series of events, both Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade testified before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on Thursday.

The testimony was part of an evidentiary hearing on the motion to disqualify Willis and Wade from the election interference case in Georgia against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants due to their relationship and use of funds.

On Friday’s show, Megyn was joined by attorneys Mike Davis and Dave Aaronberg to discuss the dramatic hearing and the key moments for both sides.

What’s at Stake

The primary issues at play in the motion to dismiss filed by Trump’s co-defendant Michael Roman are if Willis and Wade’s romantic relationship began prior to when he was hired to work on the case in November 2021 and if the district attorney financially benefitted from his employment.

Judge McAfee said during a pre-hearing on Monday that Willis could be disqualified “if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.”

The Relationship

Wade and Willis both testified on Thursday that they first met in 2019 but their romantic relationship began in early 2022. That contradicted the testimony of Robin Yeartie, a former friend of Willis and employee of the Fulton County district attorney’s office. 

Yeartie, who described herself as a one-time “good friend” of Willis, said she had “no doubt” that the romantic relationship began before Wade was hired by Willis’ office when questioned by Roman’s attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

Merchant: You have no doubt that their romantic relationship was in effect from 2019 until the last time you spoke with her?

Yeartie: No doubt.

Merchant: And that’s based on your personal observations and… speaking with them and seeing them together and things like that?

Yeartie: Yes.

Trump’s defense attorney Steven Sadow went on to ask for some specifics from Yeartie about her “observations” of Willis and Wade prior to November 2021, which she said included kissing, hugging, and handholding. 

But both Megyn and Davis were, to some extent, left wanting more. “If I had Ms Yeartie on the stand, I would have let her talk more. I would have said, ‘Fani Willis told you repeatedly that they had an affair, that they were together? What did she say? Be specific. Was it just like, “He’s my pal. We’re going to the movies.” When you say hugging and kissing, did it look romantic in nature,’” Megyn explained. “They didn’t flesh any of that out and it made me a little frustrated.”

Witness Credibility

Yeartie delivered the defense their biggest ‘win’ when she testified that Wade and Willis were dating prior to November 2021, but her credibility was quickly called into question. 

Willis and Yeartie first met in college in the early 1990s, and the district attorney rented a condo from Yeartie for about a year between 2021 and 2022. The two were, admittedly, close friends for many years. However, Yeartie was terminated from her job at the district attorney’s office in 2022 and both women have confirmed they are no longer on speaking terms. 

The state has tried to paint Yeartie as a disgruntled and, therefore, uncredible former employee, and Aronberg believes this has the potential to undermine the testimony. “If they had more corroboration, it would help the defense,” he said. “But this is what they’ve got and the question is: Does she have motive to lie?”

He believes the answer is yes. “Disgruntled or not, she does have a reason why she would lie,” he explained. “Now, it is up to the judge to make a determination on credibility… but I’m not sure that her testimony sitting alone is enough to prove that the relationship existed before Nathan Wade was hired as a special prosecutor.”

The Money

The other main point of contention is the number of lavish trips Willis and Wade took together once he started working for her office. Receipts indicate that Wade paid for nearly all of the couple’s travel expenses for the five vacations they took together between October 2022 and May 2023 to the Bahamas, Aruba, Napa, and more.

Wade and Willis claimed that all expenses were evenly split between the two of them, and she repaid him in cash. Willis testified that she would not have receipts for cash withdrawals because she keeps large amounts of cash in her home and on her person at all times at the recommendation of her father, a former Black Panther and criminal defense attorney.

While Davis said Wade and Willis are essentially asking the judge to take them at their word when they say they roughly split all of their expenses, it doesn’t negate the fact that there is an “appearance of corruption” in this setup. “You have an appearance that Nathan Wade was illegally hired by Fani Willis, that she is paying him $250 an hour, that she is taking illegal kickbacks, and that she has an illegal financial interest in this criminal prosecution,” he explained.

In his view, the burden of proof has shifted to the district attorney. “Her affirmative defense is, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, I paid cash for my half of these trips,’” he noted. “ Well, guess what? It’s her burden to prove that she paid cash. It’s her burden to come forward and say here’s where I got the cash.”

Thus far, he does not believe she has been able to do so. “She has not met her burden of proof in this burden-shifting exercise on their bogus cover story,” he concluded. “So, that’s where I think that she’s going to lose with this show.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Aronberg and Davis by tuning in to episode 726 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.