Attorney Ashleigh Merchant Reveals How She Discovered the Fani Willis-Nathan Wade Affair

Alyssa Pointer/Pool Photo via AP

Court proceedings in the motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the election interference case against Donald Trump in Georgia may be on hold while Judge Scott McAfee weighs his decision, but we continue to learn more about the affair between Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

Ashleigh Merchant, the defense attorney for Trump co-defendant Michael Roman who filed the motion in January, appeared before the Georgia State Senate on Wednesday as part of an investigation into Willis and revealed how she found out about their romantic relationship. 

In a special bonus episode of The Megyn Kelly Show, Megyn was joined by attorney Phil Holloway, founder of Holloway Law Group, to discuss Merchant’s testimony and the new details she provided. 

The Subpoena

Last Wednesday, the Georgia State Senate subpoenaed Merchant to appear before the Senate Special Committee on Investigations at a hearing on its probe into Willis. The committee formed in January to investigate the alleged improper actions of Willis.

According to its website, the panel’s purpose “is to thoroughly investigate the allegations of misconduct by the district attorney for Fulton County, Fani Willis, relating to potential conflicts of interest and misuse of public funds, to enact new or amend existing laws and/or change state appropriations to restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.”

Merchant was the first person to be issued a subpoena, though the committee has reportedly already heard from “whistleblowers” on the matter. She was asked to provide documents related to her motion to disqualify, including her 31-page text message history with Terrence Bradley, Wade’s one-time friend, law partner, and divorce attorney.

The Hearing

During the nearly four-hour hearing, Merchant was able to speak more freely about her knowledge of Willis and Wade’s affair and the evidence submitted by the defense team than she could in court. ​​”It’s wonderful to hear an attorney on the case be able to sit down and just answer all the questions about what she did, why she did it, who she was speaking to, how she got stonewalled from the prosecutors right in the middle of the whole proceedings,” Megyn said. 

Merchant laid out a timeline of when she started working on the case and when she first learned of a potential relationship between the DA and special prosecutor. She testified that she began representing Roman in late August 2023. She said she first heard rumors about the affair from people “in the community” who were surprised Wade was hired to work on the Trump case given his relationship with Willis.

That led her to begin submitting open records requests, which got the attention of Willis. Merchant said the DA called Bradley to warn him about what was going on. This appears to mirror statements from potential witness Cindi Lee Yeager that were filed on Monday. 

She explained that she ran into Bradley in court in September 2023, which is when he allegedly began divulging details. “She described how they started chit chatting and he was a fountain of information,” Megyn noted. “Gone was the laconic man we saw on the stand last week who couldn’t put two words together because he didn’t remember, and present – according to her – was this man who was just telling her in narrative form everything about this affair.”

As their text exchanges suggested, Merchant said Bradley was “very specific” about the fact that Willis and Wade “met at a judicial conference” and their romantic relationship began before she was elected district attorney in November 2020. “Nathan was still married, and Mr. Bradley was upset because of what happened in the divorce,” Merchant testified. “He was upset because… the Wades were still married and he essentially just left her after meeting Ms. Willis and dropping the kids off to college.”

Merchant also said that Bradley told her Willis and Wade “met at hotels” and “he would go to her place.” She also confirmed that he gave her the lead on Robin Yeartie, Willis’ former friend and colleague who testified that the relationship began in 2019. “I remember him saying, ‘You need to find her bestie who they had a falling out. That’s the person case condo it was,’” Merchant recounted.

Holloway noted that Merchant and Bradley go way back. “It’s important to remember… they’ve been friends and colleagues for years… as long as I’ve been in this area,” he shared. “So, this is like two friends having a casual conversation while they’re waiting on their case to get called in court.”

Merchant was then able to build off of the information Bradley provided. “She is, of course, taking notes and then she goes about the business of corroborating,” Holloway added. “And you heard her go into great detail, saying how she just didn’t take his word for it. She didn’t disbelieve them, but she did her homework.”

What Comes Next

The Georgia Senate investigation is completely separate from the motion being considered by Judge McAfee. The committee does not have the power to remove Willis from office or sanction her, but it can use this case as the grounds for new legislation.

As Holloway explained, the state senators are “going to figure out just what happened here in terms of prosecutorial misconduct” and see if they “can use their power as half of the legislature to effect change.” He believes they can potentially employ “the lawmaking process” to “rein in rogue prosecutors,” “enact laws that tighten the rules about conflicts of interest,” or “make it a crime… to use nepotism when hiring contractors.”

So, while the findings of this committee may not directly impact the case against Willis or Trump, they could have lasting implications. “They’re not gonna be able to do anything this legislative session. It’s too late,” Holloway concluded. “But you can mark my words: There will be change coming from the Georgia legislature next year.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Holloway by tuning in to episode 740 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.