A judge on Monday ordered court records of the divorce proceedings of a special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, who is handling the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald Trump, be made public and delayed the decision on whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis will be deposed. 

Cobb County, Georgia Superior Court Judge Henry Thompson ruled that he was vacating a previous order that kept records of the divorce proceedings sealed. That is what attorney Ashleigh Merchant, who represents former Trump campaign staffer and onetime White House aide Michael Roman, had asked the court to do. 

“I find that the prior order, although it was by consent parties, was not properly entered because uniform’s superior court rules require a hearing to be had. We can find no evidence that any such hearing was ever had so I’m going to grant the motion, vacating the consent order sealing the record. And I’ll do that today. I have your written order,” Thompson said. The judge then said Merchant could be dismissed from the hearing. 

Thompson later addressed Cinque Axam, a lawyer for Willis, saying the court would not yet decide on whether the Fulton County DA will be deposed. Willis’ deposition was originally set for Tuesday, but the judge said he first wants to hear from Nathan Wade on allegations of an extramarital affair directly during an evidentiary hearing in the divorce case set for Jan. 31. 


Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks during a worship service at the Big Bethel AME Church on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, in Atlanta.  (Miguel Martinez/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

“It seems to me that Mr. Wade would be the first and best source of information on what his income has been and how he’s been spending it. And that he would have firsthand knowledge of whether he’s engaged in an extramarital affair,” Thompson said. “Only after I hear what Mr. Wade has to say, do I think I can make a determination of whether the proposed deponent has any unique knowledge about these issues, because once again, this is a math problem, and we need to find a solution to.” 

“So with all that being said, I’m not prepared. Mr. Axam, to grant your protective order. But since the deposition is set for tomorrow and our first evidentiary hearing is set for the 31st, I will issue a stay,” the judge continued. “And I will stay the deposition until I’m in a better position to make a determination of whether the proposed deponent would have any unique knowledge, unique being the key word there, that is not possessed by Mr. Wade himself.” 

A motion filed last week by the defense attorney in the election case alleges that Willis was involved in a romantic relationship with attorney Nathan Wade. 


Nathan Wade

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade listens during a motions hearing for former President Trump’s election interference case, Friday, Jan. 12, 2024 in Atlanta.  (Elijah Nouvelage/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

Axam wrote in a filing Thursday that lawyers for Wade’s wife, Joycelyn Wade, served a subpoena to the district attorney last week. 

The filing says that the subpoena is being sought “in an attempt to harass and damage” Willis’ professional reputation and accuses Joycelyn Wade of having “conspired with interested parties in the criminal Election Interference Case to use the civil discovery process to annoy, embarrass, and oppress” the district attorney.

The attempt to question Willis is “obstructing and interfering” with an ongoing criminal case, Axam wrote in the court filing Thursday seeking to quash the subpoena.

Andrea Hastings, a lawyer for Joycelyn Wade, said they want to help her “resolve her divorce fairly and privately.” 

Trump and Michael Roman in Fulton County booking photos

Former President Trump and Trump campaign staff member Michael Roman pose for their booking photos at the Fulton County Jail in August 2023. Trump, Roman and 17 others are facing felony charges in the indictment related to allegedly tampering with the 2020 election in Georgia.  (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images)

In a response filed Friday, Hastings wrote that Nathan Wade has taken trips to San Francisco and Napa Valley, Florida, Belize, Panama and Australia and has taken Caribbean cruises since filing for divorce and that Willis “was an intended travel partner for at least some of these trips as indicated by flights he purchased for her to accompany him.”


The filing includes credit card statements that show Nathan Wade, after he had been hired as special prosecutor, bought plane tickets in October 2022 for him and Willis to travel to Miami and bought tickets in April to San Francisco in their names. Joycelyn Wade’s filing says she is seeking to question Willis about “her romantic affair” with Nathan Wade, saying there “appears to be no reasonable explanation for their travels apart from a romantic relationship.”

Trump and 18 allies were indicted in Georgia over their alleged efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state, with prosecutors using a statute normally associated with mobsters to accuse the former president, lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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