In one of her first interviews since a temporary settlement was reached in the long-running divorce case, Hastings took aim at the hard-nosed strategy employed by Fani Willis as the Fulton district attorney sought to quash a subpoena seeking her testimony.
Hastings said she considered it a threat when the DA said in a court filing Joycelyn Wade was “obstructing and interfering” with the Trump case. The attorney also suggested that she released Nathan Wade’s credit card statements when she did in response to Willis’ tack.
“She really went too far,” Hastings said of Willis. “I perceived what was represented in her motion as untruths, and I decided to meet those with facts.”
The divorce battle emerged last month as a sideshow to the Trump case after an attorney for Mike Roman, one of the defendants in the election case, accused Willis of financially benefitting from a secret relationship with Wade, who has been paid some $654,000 so far for his work on the prosecution. The same day those allegations were made, Willis was served a subpoena by Hastings to sit for a pretrial deposition, and Roman’s attorney motioned to unseal the Wades’ divorce case, which had been conducted in private for nearly two years.
Willis’ attorney subsequently accused Joycelyn Wade of “conspir(ing) with interested parties in the criminal election interference case to use the civil discovery process to annoy, embarrass and oppress” the DA while “obstructing and interfering” with the Trump probe. Obstruction can be a crime in Georgia.
Willis also accused Joycelyn Wade of breaking the Wades’ marriage by having an adulterous relationship with a longtime friend of her husband’s.
A day later, Hastings fired back, releasing credit card statements that bolstered the claim that Willis and Wade were in a relationship. The documents showed that Nathan Wade had purchased airline tickets and made other travel arrangements for himself and Willis for trips to Napa Valley and the Caribbean in 2022 and 2023.
Neither Willis nor Nathan Wade have responded directly to the relationship allegations. The DA is required to respond in writing by Friday to Roman’s accusations. It’s unclear to what extent she’ll address the relationship claims or focus her arguments on whether she should be removed from the case and charges dropped, as Roman and other defendants are seeking at a February 15 hearing.
Scott Kimbrough, Nathan Wade’s attorney, declined to comment. A Willis spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Hastings said Thursday Willis’ comments about her client “seemed gratuitous and unnecessary,” especially since she could have simply cited more straightforward legal reasons for why she couldn’t offer testimony in the divorce case.
“It definitely was an error, I believe, on her part,” she said of Willis. “She went too far, in my view, as a lawyer, as a professional and also as a public servant.”
Hastings also said it was untrue that her client had a prior affair and that that was the cause of the separation.
On Tuesday afternoon, less than 12 hours before a public hearing in which Nathan Wade was expected to be asked about his relationship with Willis, the parties announced a temporary divorce settlement, ending more than two years of legal acrimony.
The details of the agreement are being kept private, but Hastings said discovery will resume shortly. After the documents are received, the split will be mediated within 45 days. If that’s unsuccessful, she said she will likely depose Nathan Wade.
It’s possible Willis could still be questioned later under oath if Hastings doesn’t get answers from Nathan Wade. The Cobb County judge overseeing the divorce said he would wait to decide on whether to quash the DA’s subpoena until after the special prosecutor is deposed.
Hastings described her client as kind and thoughtful. She said that over the last few weeks, Joycelyn Wade has been homebound and afraid to leave the house and that strangers have been knocking on her door.
Listen to the AJC’s full interview with Hastings in Friday’s episode of the Breakdown podcast.