Lawyers Offer New Witness in Effort to Disqualify Trump Prosecutors in Georgia


Defense lawyers in the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald J. Trump say they want to put someone on the stand whose testimony could back up their assertion that Terrence Bradley, a witness in their effort to disqualify the prosecutors running the case, gave misleading testimony.

The new information comes from Cindi Lee Yeager, a deputy district attorney in neighboring Cobb County, Ga., whom the defense lawyers said they spoke to on Friday about conversations she has had with Mr. Bradley.

At issue is a key matter in the disqualification effort: the timing of the romantic relationship that developed between Fani T. Willis, who as the Fulton County district attorney is leading the prosecution of Mr. Trump, and Nathan Wade, the Atlanta-area lawyer she hired to manage the case.

Ms. Willis and Mr. Wade have said that a romance developed between them after she hired him in November 2021. But the defense lawyers have tried to prove the romantic relationship started earlier.

If they are correct that Ms. Willis hired a boyfriend for a lucrative, high-profile job, it might bolster their argument that she engaged in “self-dealing” when she took a number of vacations with Mr. Wade, and thus created a conflict of interest that should result in her removal from the case.

Defense lawyers thought that Mr. Bradley, a former law partner of Mr. Wade who also served for a time as Mr. Wade’s divorce lawyer, might offer some clarity as to when the romance began. But that did not happen. In a text exchange in January, he told one of the defense lawyers in the case that he “absolutely” thought the romance began before Ms. Willis hired Mr. Wade.

But when called to the stand last week, Mr. Bradley said that he had been “speculating.”

In a filing on Monday, lawyers for David J. Shafer, a co-defendant in the case, said that they had spoken to Ms. Yeager, who said that Mr. Bradley had told her the prosecutors’ relationship began before Mr. Wade went to work for Ms. Willis.

The filing stated that according to Ms. Yeager, Mr. Bradley told her that “Mr. Wade had definitively begun a romantic relationship with Ms. Willis during the time that Ms. Willis was running for district attorney in 2019 through 2020.”

According to the filing, Ms. Yeager said she also overheard Ms. Willis call Mr. Bradley last September, prompted by a news article that mentioned how much her office was paying Mr. Wade and his law partners. (Mr. Bradley’s work for the office was not related to the Trump case.)

“They are coming after us,” Ms. Willis told Mr. Bradley during the call, according to the account offered by Ms. Yeager that is described in the defense filing. “You don’t need to talk to them about anything about us.”

The context of Ms. Willis’ alleged call to Mr. Bradley is not clear; In any case, it would have taken place before the disqualification effort began in January and before it was known that Mr. Bradley would be subpoenaed to testify.

On the stand last month, Mr. Bradley testified that he “did not personally know” Ms. Willis. “My interaction with Ms. Willis was never where I would pick up the phone and talk to her,” he said.

Also unclear is what impact, if any, Ms. Yeager’s statement could have on a judge’s decision whether to disqualify the prosecutors. The judge, Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior Court, has already wrapped up testimony on the disqualification question; on Friday, he said he would rule on the matter within two weeks.

In their filing on Monday, Mr. Shafer’s lawyers asked the judge to allow them to put Ms. Yeager on the stand “in the event that the court reopens the hearing to receive additional evidence.” They noted that Mr. Trump and Ms. Willis’s office have also asked the judge to allow for additional testimony.

At a hearing on Friday, Judge McAfee heard final legal arguments from both sides but said that he could hold another hearing if evidence emerged to require it.

A lawyer for Mr. Bradley did not return calls seeking comment. Ms. Yeager, who has run for local office previously as a Republican — but says she currently considers herself a Democrat — declined to comment on the filing on Monday. A spokesman for the district attorney’s office did not comment on Monday, but Ms. Willis and her office have described the disqualification effort as legally baseless and an effort to generate salacious headlines.

If successful, the effort to remove Ms. Willis would throw the criminal case against Mr. Trump into turmoil, forcing a state agency to find another prosecutor to take it on. A new prosecutor could move to keep, modify or drop the case against Mr. Trump, who was indicted in August with 18 allies on charges of conspiring to overturn the former president’s 2020 election loss in Georgia.

Since then, four defendants have pleaded guilty.

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