Defense Attorney Describes Efforts To ‘Intimidate’ Key Witness After She Filed Motion To Disqualify Fani Willis

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Defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant described “intimidation” of a key witness that occurred after she filed her motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis during a Georgia State Senate hearing Wednesday.

The Georgia Senate Special Committee on Investigations subpoenaed Merchant, whose Jan. 8 motion contained bombshell allegations that Willis financially benefited from appointing her lover Nathan Wade, to testify Wednesday during its second hearing on corruption allegations against Willis. Merchant revealed during the hearing that a key witness, Wade’s former law partner Terrence Bradley, received multiple calls from individuals close to Willis after she filed her motion to disqualify. (RELATED: Nathan Wade’s Former Law Partner Privately Made Statements That ‘Directly’ Contradicted His Testimony, Witness Claims)

“Very few people knew about this relationship,” Merchant said, describing the time after she filed the motion. “And so they very much wanted to know who knew about it.”

Gabe Banks, an Atlanta-based attorney whose wife works for the district attorney’s office, called Bradley “out of the blue” the weekend after the motion was filed to ask if he was the “leak,” Merchant said. Banks also represented Chris Campbell after he was subpoenaed by Merchant to testify.

The day after Banks called, Wade called Bradley’s best friend to “remind” him of the attorney-client privilege, Merchant said.

“Did [Bradley] interpret that as Ms. Willis trying to intimidate him from revealing this affair?” Republican state Sen. Bill Cowsert asked.

“Or Mr. Wade,” Merchant said “He took it as intimidation, yes … He said the first shot across the bow was Gabe Banks, second shot across the bow was Nathan Wade.”

During the hearing on the motion, Bradley initially dodged questions from defense attorneys by citing attorney-client privilege, but Judge Scott McAfee later found after a closed-door meeting that some communications he had with Wade about the relationship with Willis were not covered.


Merchant said both she and Bradley were upset by the calls because it “seemed like tampering” and was “just an uncomfortable position to be in.”
“I was trying to protect him as much as possible,” she said, noting she had not at that point disclosed him as the source.

Two witnesses came forward this week claiming Bradley disclosed details about the relationship between Willis and Wade to them in private conversation that he denied recalling while testifying under oath, including when the relationship began.

One witness, co-chief Deputy for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office Cindi Lee Yeager, said she was in the room when Bradley received a call from Fani Willis in September 2023 regarding an article published on the money Wade’s law partners had earned from the county, according to the court filing.

“They are coming after us,” Yeager reportedly heard Willis say. “You don’t need to talk to them about anything about us.”

McAfee indicated after closing arguments Friday that he intended to rule on the motion to disqualify Willis within two weeks.

Bradley, Banks and the district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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