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The Georgia disqualification sideshow could get even more complicated

Terrence Bradley, special prosecutor Nathan Wade’s former law partner and divorce lawyer, is set to take the stand again Tuesday. We’ll be watching.


The dramatic sideshow in Georgia over the defense effort to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis could become yet more complicated Tuesday. That’s because Judge Scott McAfee reportedly has decided that Terrence Bradley will retake the stand. Bradley, who formerly served as special prosecutor Nathan Wade’s law partner and divorce lawyer, claimed at the evidentiary hearing earlier this month that information he had was covered by attorney-client privilege. But after a closed-door meeting with Bradley, McAfee determined that some of Wade’s communications with Bradley aren’t covered by the privilege, NBC News reported, clearing the way for Wade’s former associate to testify again this afternoon at 2 p.m. ET.

Taking a step back, the legal issue is whether there’s a conflict of interest due to an improper personal or financial stake in the conviction of Donald Trump and his co-defendants.

Taking a step back, the legal issue is whether there’s a conflict of interest due to an improper personal or financial stake in the conviction of Donald Trump and his co-defendants. The defense doesn’t appear to have carried its burden in proving such a conflict thus far, but the inquiry is what makes Willis and Wade’s romantic relationship relevant. They both testified at the evidentiary hearing that it started after Wade was hired on the Trump matter in 2021 and ended last year, and that Willis reimbursed Wade (in cash) for trips they took together. A former friend and employee of the district attorney’s, Robin Yeartie, testified that Wade and Willis’ relationship began before 2021.

That raises the question of what Bradley adds to the mix. The answer to that question was complicated by the fact that Bradley claimed privilege when he was asked at the hearing about his knowledge of Willis and Wade’s relationship. But that privilege claim apparently was too broad, per McAfee. Still, we don’t know the contours of what Bradley will have to testify about or what he’ll say. He could theoretically offer testimony that further contradicts Willis and Wade’s account, which would make McAfee’s task even more difficult. According to NBC News:

Bradley is likely to be asked about text messages he sent to Ashleigh Merchant, a lawyer for one of Trump’s co-defendants. Merchant has suggested that Bradley has personal knowledge that Willis and Wade’s relationship started before Wade was hired as a special prosecutor — which would conflict with their testimony in court.

As the judge, McAfee must assess witness credibility and ultimately apply the facts as he finds them to the law. So we’ll be looking out for not only what Bradley says but also any clues from McAfee as to how the judge views the latest testimony against the broader landscape of the disqualification issue. If any witnesses lied during the hearing, then that would obviously present its own issues for them, even if there’s no disqualification.

And we don’t expect to know how this will all end on Tuesday. That’s because Friday is already set for arguments over the disqualification issue, after which McAfee will rule at some point. Again, the defense does not appear to have made its case thus far, and we’ll see if Tuesday’s testimony changes that calculus at all.

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