As the late, great Wilford Brimley declared in Absence of Malice: “Wonderful thing, subpoenas.” In a divorce action that had dragged out for over two years, Jocelyn Wade had sent a subpoena to Fani Willis to explain why Wade’s estranged husband Nathan had been paying Willis’ travel bills — on money Willis paid Wade through the Fulton County DA’s office. That demand blew up Willis’ credibility in her prosecution of Donald Trump et al and exposed an alleged misdirection of taxpayer funds to Willis’ benefit.
All parties involved were due to appear in court this morning to to testify as to the Wade-Willis relationship and the subpoena demand in the divorce. However, at almost literally the eleventh hour, Nathan Wade suddenly settled the divorce action that had begun in November 2021:
The Atlanta special prosecutor who brought election interference charges against Donald Trump reached a temporary divorce settlement with his estranged wife Tuesday — meaning he likely won’t have to testify in court about his alleged affair with his district attorney boss.
The settlement automatically canceled a hearing scheduled for Wednesday in which Nathan Wade was expected to answer about his relationship with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It also means Willis will likely avoid testifying in the case.
So what were the terms? No one’s testifying to that either, at least not for now:
Cobb County Superior Court Judge Henry Thompson said in a court filing that special prosecutor Nathan Wade and his wife, Jocelyn Wade, agreed there was no longer a need for a hearing Wednesday, when Nathan Wade was likely to testify about allegations of a romantic relationship with Willis.
Trump and a co-defendant in the election interference case have cited the allegations of a romantic relationship in their efforts to get the charges against them dismissed.
“The parties, by and through their counsel of record, have entered into a temporary agreement addressing all issues presently before the Court,” Thompson wrote in a court filing Tuesday.
The details of the agreement were not immediately clear, and Thompson noted that the parties “have further agreed that the terms and provisions of this temporary agreement shall not be filed with the Court.”
Well … isn’t that convenient. Why the secrecy? One has to imagine that Mrs. Wade finally got her piece of the massive fees that Willis paid Wade to run the RICO prosecution. Up to now, Mrs. Wade complained in earlier filings, she’d gotten bupkis while Willis lived high on the $650,000 in legal fees she paid Wade.
As both NBC and the New York Post note, this ends any risk for Willis or Wade in being forced to testify about their personal relationship … in the divorce trial, anyway. Willis had won a temporary reprieve from the subpoena in the divorce action, but Mrs. Wade’s attorneys had publicly pledged to depose the Fulton County DA on her benefit from the funds she paid to Mr. Wade, and why. Both Willis and Wade would either have to testify truthfully about their relationship, risk perjury by lying about it, or contempt for refusing to answer, especially in light of the bank records that had already emerged.
The “temporary” settlement allows Wade and Willis to avoid testimony on those outlays in court — for now. They may try to argue that this closes the door on the case, but that’s only true about Jocelyn Wade. The bank records and travel receipts will have a life of their own in Judge Scott McAfee’s February 15 hearing, as they substantiate the claim from Michael Roman’s attorneys that Willis set up the RICO prosecution for her own personal benefit by hiring her boyfriend. The timing suggests it too:
Wade had filed for divorce from his wife of 26 years, Joycelyn, on Nov. 1, 2021 — a day after he was appointed special prosecutor by Willis. Roman alleged in his filing they were already in a relationship at that point.
Bombshell court filings from Joycelyn appeared to confirm Wade’s relationship with his boss when credit card statements from 2022 and 2023 submitted to the court showed her estranged husband paying for plane tickets for himself and Willis to head to California and Florida, followed by charges on cruise ships and at luxury hotels.
In other words, the divorce may be settled, but it’s hardly over in the courts. All this settlement does is close out one potential perjury trap and allow Wade and Willis to focus on the greater threat to their professional standing. Willis still has to provide an answer to Roman’s disqualification motion by Friday to McAfee. The Georgia state senate has opened an investigation into Willis’ use of funds, and the county commission on ethics appears ready to do the same.
And just in case Willis and Wade are inclined to slough this off on Jocelyn Wade, her attorneys made clear the “temporary” nature of this settlement:
On Jan. 8, Willis was subpoenaed to testify in the divorce case by attorneys for Joycelyn Wade, and Willis’ lawyer asked Thompson to quash the subpoena. But Thompson declined to do so, saying he would not decide whether the DA had to testify until he first heard testimony from Nathan Wade, which was expected to occur at Wednesday’s hearing.
“All of the issues we pled for temporary support and attorneys fees have been resolved by this agreement,” said Andrea Hastings, one of Joycelyn Wade’s attorneys. “The case is not resolved on a final basis. We still have a lot of work to do to be able to resolve this case through either a final settlement or a trial.”
Wonderful thing, subpoenas.
If Willis and Wade are willing to settle the divorce, they probably are at least considering a settlement on the RICO case that removes it from Willis’ office. That would also end Wade’s contract and the $650K gravy train for the two alleged lovebirds, but it might — might — keep them from doing enough damage to their standing so that they can continue to practice law. Cutting it loose before Friday’s filing deadline on the DQ motion would be the smart thing to do, and at least late yesterday, they finally made one smart decision.