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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

The next day, Merchant told Bradley she had “protected you completely” when she drafted the motion. But a few weeks later, she told him she would subpoena him to testify. She had also subpoenaed Wade’s other law partner.

“I will leave you out but think if I don’t subpoena you it would look fishy,” she wrote on Jan. 24. “What do you want me to do?”

“I’m ok with it,” Bradley responded.

Despite his apparent agreement, Bradley fought Merchant’s subpoena. In court filings and at recent hearings, he argued his knowledge of the Willis-Wade relationship was protected by attorney-client privilege because he had been Wade’s divorce lawyer for a time. After meeting with Bradley in private, Judge Scott McAfee determined his knowledge was not privileged, and Bradley testified on Tuesday.

It’s not clear his testimony did Merchant much good.

On the stand, Bradley disputed her interpretation of their text messages. He said he didn’t know when the Willis-Wade romance began and knew little else about it.

Bradley said he was only speculating when he texted with Merchant. He said he was only confirming the financial information for the footnote, not all the allegations in her motion. He couldn’t say whether he had lied to her.

Bradley’s testimony frustrated Merchant and other defense lawyers. Steve Sadow, attorney for Trump, quizzed Bradley about the texts and said Bradley did, in fact, know when the romance started.


“That’s the real, that’s the true explanation,” Sadow said. “Because you don’t want to admit it in court, correct?”

“No, I have no direct knowledge of when the relationship started,” Bradley responded.

It will be up to McAfee to determine whether Bradley is a credible witness. He has scheduled closing arguments on Merchant’s motion to disqualify Willis for Friday.


(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Bill Rankin contributed to this report.)


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