Defense attorneys ID potential new witnesses in Fulton DA removal fight

Lawyers ask judge to reopen case as decision looms
Witness and attorney Terrence Bradley testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (Brynn Anderson/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

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Witness and attorney Terrence Bradley testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (Brynn Anderson/Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

Defendants in the Fulton County election interference case say they have two new witnesses who can raise additional questions about whether Nathan Wade’s law partner was truthful when he testified last month about the special prosecutor’s romantic relationship with District Attorney Fani Willis.

Both of the potential witnesses are attorneys who say they spoke separately with Terrence Bradley last fall. The defense said Cindi Lee Yeager and Manny Arora can testify that Bradley told them that Wade and Willis were romantically involved in 2019 and 2020, far earlier than the former couple testified to in court.

That is similar to what Bradley said in text messages to defense lawyer Ashleigh Merchant. But when he testified last month, Bradley said he didn’t know when Willis and Wade began dating and that he was speculating in his texts with Merchant.

Yeager is a co-chief deputy DA in Cobb County. Arora is a defense attorney who represents Kenneth Chesebro, a defendant in the election case who struck a plea deal with prosecutors in October.

Attorney Cindi Yeager, speaks about her insights having been a part of the justice system during a town hall meeting at Life Church in Marietta to discuss the conditions at the Cobb County Detention Center Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 PHOTO BY ELISSA BENZIE

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A spokesman for the Fulton DA’s office said, “In keeping with ethical rules, we can only respond in a filing with the court, which we intend to do.”

Over the last two months, attorneys for nine of the remaining 15 defendants have been pushing to remove Willis and the entire Fulton DA’s office from the high-profile racketeering case against former president Donald Trump and his allies. They are arguing that Willis financially benefitted from her romantic relationship with Wade, which has created a disqualifying conflict of interest.

Prosecutors said they have done nothing wrong. They testified the relationship began in spring 2022, after Willis hired Wade, and they roughly split the costs for their travel together, two points defense attorneys have contested. The two said they ended their romantic relationship last summer.

It’s unclear whether Yeager and Arora’s testimony, which at this point is unsworn, will be admitted into evidence. At a hearing on Friday, Fulton Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he was done hearing evidence on the matter and indicated he would make a decision within the next two weeks.

The defense attorneys are asking the judge to reopen the case to include Yeager and Arora’s testimony.

On Monday, attorneys for defendant David Shafer said Yeager had several conversations with Bradley. In them, Bradley told her Wade had “definitively begun” a romantic relationship with Willis when she was running for DA “in 2019 through 2020.”

Attorney Manny Arora, who is representing Ken Chesebro, prepares to argue before Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee. McAfee is hearing motions from attorneys representing Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell in Atlanta on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023. (Jason Getz/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

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A day later, lawyers for defendant Cathy Latham offered similar testimony from Arora. Bradley stated to Arora that he had “personal knowledge” of the Willis-Wade relationship, including the use of a condo the DA was renting from a then-friend, Robin Bryant Yeartie, and “Mr. Wade’s having a garage opener to the property,”Latham’s filing said.

The court filings do not mention any first-hand knowledge Yeager or Arora had about Willis and Wade’s relationship. Instead they recount what they were told by Bradley, Wade’s former law partner and divorce attorney.

Bradley has become a central yet unreliable witness in the push to remove Willis, offering contradictory accounts and saying repeatedly that he couldn’t recall key details. Some of his texts contained information about the DA’s personal life that were false or mere speculation, the DA’s office argued in court.

Shafer’s attorneys said Yeager watched Bradley’s testimony in court and “became concerned as a result of the fact that what Mr. Bradley testified to on the witness stand was directly contrary to what Mr. Bradley had told Ms. Yeager in person,” wrote Shafer’s attorneys, Craig Gillen, Anthony Lake and Holly Pierson.

Shafer’s filing also said Yeager was visiting with Bradley in her office last fall when he received a call from Willis about an article that disclosed how much money Wade and his partners had been paid as part of the case. “Ms. Yeager heard District Attorney Willis tell Mr. Bradley: ‘They are coming after us. You don’t need to talk to them about anything about us,’” the filing states.

It was unclear how Yeager knew it was Willis on the line and what specifically the DA was referring to. The call took place months before the effort to disqualify Willis began.

When reached for comment on Monday, Yeager said she did “not have further information with regard to the Fani Willis case.”

Yeager was a GOP candidate for Cobb solicitor a decade ago and has donated several thousand dollars to the state Republican Party party over the years. She previously donated $250 to Wade when he was running for a judicial position in Cobb, according to state records.