Donald Trump back in court
Former president Donald Trump was in court while he campaigned ahead of New Hampshire's Republican primary. AFP

The high-stakes Georgia election subversion case against Donald Trump and his allies took a dramatic turn on Thursday when two prosecutors testified about their romantic relationship.

In an explosive testimony, Fani Willis - the top prosecutor overseeing the Georgia election interference case against the former president - accused the defense of spreading "lies" and attempting to derail the case through personal attacks.

The day-long hearing, convened by Judge Scott McAfee, was triggered by claims from some of Trump's co-defendants about the alleged relationship between Fulton County District Attorney Willis and Nathan Wade, raising concerns about a potential conflict of interest. Wade was hired by Willis in 2021 to join the prosecution team.

The defense seeks to disqualify Willis' team from the case or have the charges dismissed.

The defense contends that Willis employed Wade with a financial benefit in mind. Wade's earnings, exceeding $650,000 since his hiring, are under scrutiny, with defense attorneys asserting he incurred substantial expenses on credit cards for vacations with Willis. Willis, in response, claims to have reimbursed him in cash for the incurred travel costs, NYT reported.

"We would have brutal arguments about the fact that 'I am your equal,'" Willis asserted. "I don't need anything from a man – a man is not a plan. A man is a companion. And so there was tension always in our relationship, which is why I would give him his money back. I don't need anybody to foot my bills."

Fani Willis Defends Herself

Willis, who is leading the prosecution, took the stand and fiercely defended her ethics against accusations of self-dealing and nepotism. She admitted to a relationship with Wade, a key member of her team, but insisted it began after he was hired and did not influence the investigation.

Clash in the Courtroom

The hearing became heated, with Willis repeatedly clashing with defense attorneys and even rebuked by the judge for her conduct.

"You think I'm on trial," Willis said. Gesturing towards the table of attorneys representing the defendants in the criminal case, she added, "These people are on trial for trying to steal an election in 2020. I'm not on trial, no matter how hard you try to put me on trial."

Questions Linger about Relationship's Timeline

The hearing also explored the timeline of the Willis-Wade relationship. Wade maintained in an affidavit that it began in early 2022, contradicting Robin Bryant-Yeartie, a former friend of Willis, who testified that the affair started in late 2019. The dispute raised questions about the relationship's timing and its connection to Willis hiring Wade for the Trump probe.

Cash Transactions and Reimbursements

The defense focused on the lack of a paper trail documenting how the couple split expenses, suggesting Willis might have received improper benefits. While both claimed to have used cash for reimbursements, Wade admitted that he did not have receipts for all transactions.

Impact on the Case Unclear

While the hearing shifted the focus away from the specific charges against Trump and his allies, it did not directly address the underlying allegations of election interference. The judge has not issued a ruling on whether to disqualify Willis' team, and the case is expected to continue with further developments.

Trump's Legal Woes Continue

Despite the distraction, Trump faces other legal challenges, with the trial date for his hush-money case set for March and a decision expected soon in the New York civil fraud case against his company.

As Willis faces continued scrutiny Friday, a separate New York judge is expected to rule on the Trump civil fraud case, posing a potential threat to his business with a proposed $370 million fine and a ban on doing business in New York.