Trump blasts Willis at Georgia campaign stop

Republican presidential candidate and former president Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Forum River Center in Rome on Saturday, March 9, 2024. (Arvin Temkar /



Republican presidential candidate and former president Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Forum River Center in Rome on Saturday, March 9, 2024. (Arvin Temkar /

ROME – Former President Donald Trump Saturday blasted District Attorney Fani Willis, saying she had enriched herself by prosecuting him and other defendants in the Fulton County election interference case.

The former president cited allegations that Willis had benefitted financially by hiring Nathan Wade to oversee the case. Defense attorneys in the case say Wade then paid thousands of dollars for trips they took to Aruba, Napa Valley and other locales.

Willis and Wade have said they became romantically involved months after she hired him and broke off the romance last summer. They say they split the cost of their travel roughly equally and have done nothing wrong.

“Corrupt Fani Willis hired her lover Nathan Wade so they could fraudulently make money together,” Trump said. “‘Let’s see, darling, who can we go after?’”

Trump called the case a “witch hunt” and said it should be dismissed.

“We did nothing wrong,” he said, “other than we challenged the honesty of this election. This election was rigged.”

Saturday’s remarks offered another twist in the extraordinary election case, with the most prominent criminal defendant in the country blasting the top prosecutor.

Last August a grand jury indicted Trump and 18 others for their roles in an allegedly illegal scheme to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. Trump insisted that voting fraud cost him the election, although numerous investigations have found no credible evidence of fraud and two recounts confirmed Biden’s victory here.

Willis scored early victories in the case — including four guilty pleas from defendants who have agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. But in January Willis herself became a target when defendants accused her of having an improper relationship with Wade and benefitting financially.

They have asked Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee to disqualify Willis and her entire staff from prosecuting the case. McAfee is expected to rule on the request soon.

On Saturday, Trump cited the accusations against Willis in a speech at Rome’s Forum River Center. He mocked the Willis-Wade relationship as “almost a beautiful love story.”

“They went on these magnificent cruises,” Trump said. “And they got [Wade] because he’s paying a fortune for taking more vacations than anybody has ever taken... with money made wrongfully prosecuting me and other innocent American patriots.”

Trump also took aim at Willis’ account of how she reimbursed Wade for travel in cash.

“They went after me. Now she’s in trouble because she’s taking money that she just gave him,” Trump said. “She said she gave it back in cash. That’s a lie. That’s a total lie.”

At a recent hearing, Willis’ father corroborated her statement that she kept large amounts of cash on hand on his advice. An employee of a Napa Valley winery also has said he remembers Willis paying $400 in cash for a tour and two bottles of wine.

Trump wasn’t the only defendant in the election case to attend Saturday’s rally. Former GOP Chairman David Shafer attended the rally but did not speak.

Former Lt. Gov. Burt Jones also attended the rally. Although he was a target of Willis’ investigation, a Fulton County judge prohibited her from prosecuting him because she had held a political fundraiser for the Democrat who challenged Jones in the 2022 election. The decision on whether to charge Jones fell to the Prosecuting Attorneys Council of Georgia, which has not announced a decision.

Jones criticized “rogue DAs” in his speech Saturday.