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'This is huge': Text messages show how move to disqualify DA Fani Willis developed

David Wickert, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

Then, on Dec. 13, Merchant texted Bradley that she had more information about the Willis-Wade relationship.

“I still can’t get anyone to go on record,” she said.

Merchant also told Bradley about a cruise and a trip to Napa Valley that Wade had paid for. Bradley said he didn’t know about those trips, but he wasn’t surprised. He said they took “many trips to Florida.”

In the weeks that followed, Bradley and Merchant discussed people she should subpoena to get information about the Willis-Wade romance, including members of her security detail and DA employees. One of them was Robin Bryant Yeartie, a former friend and employee of Willis who testified she saw Willis and Wade kissing and hugging before Willis hired Wade in November 2021.

On Jan. 5, three days before she filed her motion, Merchant asked Bradley when the Willis-Wade romance began — a key issue in the weeks to come.

“Do you think it started before she hired him?” she asked.


“Absolutely,” Bradley responded.

As Merchant prepared her motion, she ran a copy by Bradley. He suggested she include money he earned from the DA in a footnote about the money Wade’s firm had earned from the case. She made the change.

“Anything else? Anything that isn’t accurate?” Merchant asked.

“Looks good,” Bradley responded.


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