DA Willis paid for many travel expenses in cash; funded Belize trip as birthday gift to Wade

Fani Willis picked up the tab for a trip she and Nathan Wade took to Belize in March 2023 for his birthday and paid her share of many of their other travel expenses in cash, Wade testified, shedding more light on an area of focus for defendants seeking to remove the Fulton DA’s office from its election interference case.

Questioned about various travel he undertook with the district attorney, Wade said the DA demanded that she pay her own way. He said it was “a point of contention” between them.

“She’s a very independent, proud woman,” he said. “She’s going to insist that she carries her own weight. She was emphatic and adamant about this independent, strong woman thing.”

Referring to a trip the two took to Belize, Wade said he covered many of the expenses on his credit card and that Willis then reimbursed him for the entire trip for both of them in cash.

“I paid nothing for that trip,” Wade said. “Zero.”

“For safety reasons she limited her transactions,” he said, describing some of the security considerations Willis has to take for travel.

Wade echoed statements made in a recent sworn affidavit, that he and Willis roughly split expenses during trips to Napa Valley and the Caribbean in 2022 and 2023.

Nine defendants in the case, led by Michael Roman, have contended that Wade’s payments for trips are evidence of Willis having an improper financial interest in the elections case, since Wade is paid for his work on that prosecution by the hour. He has billed for more than $728,000 in legal fees for his work, according to records viewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“The more work that is done on the case (regardless of what justice calls for) the more they get paid,” Roman argued in a recent court filing, referring to Willis and Wade. “The more they fight Mr. Roman’s motions, the more they get paid. The more they refuse to dismiss defendants who should not be indicted, the more money they make. And, of course, the more money the special prosecutor makes, the more the district attorney gets to reap the financial benefits.”

On the stand, Wade described trips they made together to California in May 2023, and to Aruba in 2022. Wade said his mother joined them on the Aruba trip. He and Willis also went on a New Year’s Eve cruise to The Bahamas, with his sisters, he said.

Answering questions from Roman’s attorney, Wade shed light on why he and Willis didn’t share their relationship with others.

“Our relationship wasn’t a secret, it was just private,” he said.