Bank records: DA Willis and special prosecutor traveled together during Trump probe

District Attorney Fani Willis, center, confers with lead prosecutors, Donald Wakeford, left, and Nathan Wade, during a motion hearing at Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

Credit: Hyosub Shin/AJC

District Attorney Fani Willis, center, confers with lead prosecutors, Donald Wakeford, left, and Nathan Wade, during a motion hearing at Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on Friday, July 1, 2022. (Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Special prosecutor Nathan Wade purchased airline tickets he and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis used for trips to San Francisco, Miami and Aruba, according to a court motion filed Friday.

The filing, on behalf of Joycelyn Wade in her divorce case with Nathan Wade, included detailed credit card statements. They appear to bolster allegations of a romantic relationship between Nathan Wade and Willis. The trips took place in 2022 and 2023, after Willis had hired Wade as special prosecutor in the probe of election subversion by Donald Trump and his allies.

A spokesman for Willis did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The records have emerged as part of the Wades’ contentious divorce proceedings in Cobb County Superior Court and have rocked Fulton’s sweeping racketeering case against the former president and 14 remaining defendants. One defendant is seeking to disqualify Willis and her office because of her alleged “improper, clandestine personal relationship” with Wade.

Joycelyn Wade’s divorce attorneys want to depose Willis on Jan. 23. Willis has resisted, filing a motion Thursday to quash the subpoena.

In their response Friday, Joycelyn Wade’s attorneys criticized Willis’ attempt to avoid giving sworn testimony in the case, calling her arguments disingenuous and specious.

Joycelyn Wade’s attorneys attached to the filing records from Nathan Wade’s Capital One bank account. They show the following expenditures:

  • On Oct. 4, 2022, Wade purchased American Airlines tickets to Miami for himself, Willis and Clara Bowman, who is believed to be Wade’s mother and who traveled from Texas. The three tickets cost a combined $1,367. That same day, he paid more than $2,600 to Royal Caribbean Cruises. On Oct. 5, Wade spent approximately $3,800 with Vacation Express, a company that offers vacation packages and tours. Wade, Willis and Bowman arrived in Miami on Oct. 28, according to flight records reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The records also show that Wade paid about $124 for seat upgrades for travel with Willis from Miami to Aruba. Bowman stayed in Miami and returned to Texas on Oct. 31, flight records show. There were additional charges on the card of $370 for the Hyatt Regency in Aruba on Nov. 4 and $3,173 to Norwegian Cruise Line on Nov. 7. It was not clear who took either of the cruises or who stayed at the Hyatt.
  • On April 25, 2023, Wade purchased $817.80 in Delta Air Lines tickets to San Francisco in both his and Willis’ names, although they do not show when the flight was taken. They also show that on May 14, Wade spent $840.22 for what appears to be a stay at the DoubleTree hotel in Napa Valley.

The records do not show whether Wade and Willis stayed in the same room or whether Willis reimbursed him.

Allegations of a romantic relationship between Wade and Willis first surfaced in a court filing by Ashleigh Merchant, attorney for Trump defendant Michael Roman, earlier this month. She contended that the relationship was improper because Willis financially benefited from the vacations paid for by Wade, who has been paid more than $654,000 in legal fees for his work on the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others.

Roman, a Trump campaign operative, has asked for the charges against him to be dismissed and for Willis and her office to be removed from the broader case.

Will Wooten, Deputy Fulton County DA, (Left), and special prosecutor Nathan Wade talk during a court hearing in front of Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee in Atlanta on Friday, January 19, 2023 (Jason Getz/

Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

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Credit: Jason Getz/AJC

Also on Friday, Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis, chairman of the audit committee, sent a letter to Willis asking for an explanation of the revelations and possible misuse of county money.

“I must reasonably inquire about allegations contained in a recent court filing asserting that you misused county funds and accepted valuable gifts and personal benefits from a contractor/recipient of county funds,” he wrote.

Clark Cunningham, a law professor at Georgia State University, said the disclosure of Nathan Wade’s bank records appear to substantiate, at least in part, the allegations in Roman’s motion.

“Willis may want to consider taking a leave from the DA’s office, allowing one of her chief deputies to assume control over the election interference prosecution,” Cunningham said. “That chief deputy could determine whether to continue the contract with Nathan Wade.”

He said such a decision could address a growing problem of public confidence and help avoid possible disruption if the motion to disqualify was granted.

The drama in the divorce case ratcheted up in recent weeks as Joycelyn Wade’s attorneys served Willis with a subpoena seeking her sworn testimony in a deposition later this month. On Thursday, Willis’ attorney, Cinque Axam, fired back, filing a motion seeking to quash the subpoena and saying Wade was trying to use the divorce case “to harass and embarrass District Attorney Willis, and in doing so, is obstructing and interfering with an ongoing criminal prosecution.”

(Obstruction is a criminal offense in Georgia, although it is unclear if the filing is alleging such a crime may have occurred.)

In the motion, Willis also said the Wades’ marriage had been irretrievably broken because Joycelyn Wade had an adulterous relationship with a longtime friend of Nathan Wade’s.

On Friday, Joycelyn Wade’s lawyers responded and said Willis “does, in fact, possess intimate information about the Wades’ marriage, albeit false and libelous misinformation.” The motion said Wade did not have an affair with that individual nor did she meet with him in person.

Referring to the possible obstruction charge, the motion said, “Ms. Willis’ implied threat to pursue charges against (Joycelyn Wade) and her counsel based on inconvenient facts from her personal life that are directly relevant to the ongoing divorce proceedings ... is an affront to the integrity of her office.”

Joycelyn Wade’s lawyers said they want to depose Willis to get “pertinent information from her husband’s paramour” regarding their relationship as well as his financial involvement in that relationship. Their response added, “These answers are relevant to the equitable division of the marital estate, dissipation of marital assets and (Nathan Wade’s) capacity to provide spousal support.”

The Wades’ divorce case is before Cobb County Superior Court Judge Henry Thompson, who must decide whether Willis sits for the deposition. Thompson also has requests from Merchant and a number of news media organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, to unseal the Wades’ divorce file.

Staff writers Tamar Hallerman, David Wickert and Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this story.