Ashleigh Merchant Offers New Details About the Witnesses Who Knew About the Fani Willis-Nathan Wade Affair

Alyssa Pointer/Pool Photo via AP

All eyes have been on Fulton County Superior Court as the hearings on the motion to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade from the election interference case against Donald Trump and his co-defendants in Georgia progressed.

Judge Scott McAfee ultimately ‘split the baby’ and decided Willis and her office could stay on the case so long as Wade stepped aside, which he did on Friday. The ruling was, in part, based on the testimony of witnesses like Willis’ former friend and colleague Robin Yeartie and Wade’s one-time law partner and divorce attorney Terrence Bradley.

On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by Ashleigh Merchant, the defense attorney for Trump co-defendant Michael Roman who filed the motion to disqualify, to discuss Bradley and Yeartie’s relationship to the case and what surprised her about their testimony.

The Evidence

As Merchant testified before the Georgia State Senate earlier this month, she got wind of the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade from Bradley. And it is clear from the hundreds of text messages between the two that he provided many of the details and leads that helped her assemble the motion she filed on January 8.

While the motion was light on specifics, the 127-page filing made it clear that the defense counsel had evidence that Willis and Wade were having an affair and traveling extensively together while he was working for the district attorney’s office as a special prosecutor on the Trump case.

“When we filed the motion, everybody said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have proof. She didn’t put proof in the motion,’” Merchant recalled. “That’s how we file motions – proof comes in the actual evidentiary hearing. So we have to allege enough to get an evidentiary hearing, and then we actually put the facts up.”

Robin Yeartie

The evidentiary hearings ended up featuring two key witnesses – Yeartie and Bradley – who were both subpoenaed based on their knowledge of Willis and Wade’s relationship. Yeartie was a friend and former employee of Willis who rented her the condo that phone records later revealed Wade stayed overnight at on more than one occasion.

During her testimony, Yeartie described herself as a one-time “good friend” of Willis and said she had “no doubt” that the romantic relationship began before Wade was hired by Willis’ office:

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.

Yeartie was largely painted by the media as a disgruntled former employee with a bridge to burn, but Merchant noted that was hardly the case. “Robin was very hesitant to come forward,” she explained. “She had a lawyer who filed a motion to quash and re-litigated that right before she testified, and that lawyer… is a Fani Willis supporter.”

While she noted that Yeartie “always said” she would tell the truth, Merchant said “she didn’t want to be a part of” the case. That greatly impacted the defense counsel’s ability to work with her. “The thing that I think a lot of people don’t understand is that hesitant witnesses will not talk to the defense out of court,” she explained. “So my interactions with her were through her lawyer and… somewhat limited.”

That led, at least in part, to why Merchant did not get more from Yeartie on the stand. “I don’t have the ability, when someone doesn’t want to come and testify… to get all of these flowery details,” she said. “I could have made it more flowery going into salacious details about what she had seen them with… [but] I got what I needed from her… she was unequivocal, there was ‘no doubt’ in her mind.”

Megyn said she couldn’t understand the doubt cast on Yeartie. “I’m amazed that the judge completely dismissed [her]… and wanted her to offer more detail,” she explained. “If I wanted to ding Fani Willis because she forced me out of the DA’s office, as Fani alleged, I would have come running to your courtroom. I would have said, ‘Ms. Merchant. How can I help you? I can’t wait to sink her. She’s terrible.’”

But that is not what happened. “You had to subpoena her… She was terrified to get up there,” Megyn continued. “When she actually was forced to testify, she was very laconic… she was not volunteering anything, and I found her very credible.”

Merchant agreed. “I was surprised that [Judge McAfee] dismissed her because I thought she was by far the most credible witness that took the stand,” she said.

Terrence Bradley

The reason Merchant even knew to speak to Yeartie was because of information she got from Bradley. While he was forthcoming via text message and phone calls in the months leading up to the motion being filed, he completely shut down when it was time to take the stand.

Bradley tried to claim attorney-client privilege, and it is believed that he took that approach because of a message he received from Wade through a mutual friend to be careful with what he divulged at the risk of losing his law license.

Bradley was ultimately forced to testify by Judge McAfee, but he basically resorted to saying he ‘could not recall’ or was merely ‘speculating’ to just about every question he received on the stand. Merchant believes that was a contradiction in and of itself. “If it is privileged, then you know about it,” she noted. “He’s saying, ‘Oh, well, I didn’t know. It’s speculation’ and also ‘Oh, but it’s privileged’ – it’s like when ‘privilege’ didn’t work, we switched over to speculation.”

Merchant said there was a moment in her cross-examination that she knew Bradley was not going to cooperate. “When he looked at me and said, ‘I’m trying to save my law license,’ that was one of the only times he directly looked at me during his testimony,” she recalled. “And I think that was him telling me like, ‘I’m sorry, but I’m trying to save my law license here.’”

She said it was “disappointing” given the role he had played up until that point. “He knew I represented Mr. Roman, and he came to me and initiated this contact,” she shared. “I know Terrence, and I knew Terrence, and I very much liked Terrence as a professional colleague and a friend… I think you could even see my demeanor switch at that point [in the testimony] from ‘hey, Terrence is my friend’ to ‘Terrence is someone who lied to me and is lying on the stand.’”

While Merchant said she really believed Bradley “would tell the truth” under oath, she regretted not getting more foundational details from him in writing. “I talked to him about that in person and on the phone… He told me about, like, the garage door opener… and he explained things with sensory details,” she admitted. “I wish I had captured [them] in text, but, at the time, I didn’t know that I needed to because I didn’t think that Terrance would ever clam up and claim this privilege theory.”

At the end of the day, Megyn said Willis and Wade got what they wanted from Bradley. “It was clear to everybody that he was lying on the stand, and the judge put absolutely no weight on his testimony,” she concluded. “And so Nathan Wade got what he wanted in getting him to shut up when it mattered.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Merchant by tuning in to episode 748 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.