“I don't recall”: Lawyer Lies for Fani Willis


Witness Terrence Bradley

After today’s testimony from Terrence Bradley, the disqualification of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Special Counsel Nathan Wade is still up in the air.

Last night, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ruled that Terrence Bradley (the former law partner of Wade who represented Wade during his divorce) can testify concerning his knowledge of the romantic relationship between District Attorney Fani Willis and Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade. Judge McAfee made this ruling after conducing a private conference with Bradley and Bradley’s attorney.

If you recall, Bradley largely relied on attorney-client privilege to refuse to answer questions regarding his personal knowledge of the Willis/Wade relationship. Judge McAfee made the determination that, at times, Bradley misapplied the attorney-client privilege during his previous testimony, and that at least some of Bradley’s knowledge of the affair was outside the scope of that privilege. (Judge McAfee didn’t answer the question of whether attorney-client privilege could be pierced due to potential fraud on the Court by Wade.)

Judge McAfee opened today’s hearing with his ruling on the attorney-client privilege issue, stating after considering Bradley’s testimony and in camera, neither Wade or Bradley “met their burden to establish the attorney-client privilege applied” with respect to the Wade/Willis relationship.

This caused for some optimism.

Bradley, after all, had represented in text messages to Ashleigh Merchant (attorney for Defendant Michael Roman) that: (1) the relationship between DA Willis and Nathan Wade started before he was appointed Special Prosecutor; (2) the relationship started while they were both magistrate judges; (3) the motion to disqualify Fani Willis, which alleged the start date of the relationship, was accurate; and (4) there were a number of trips between Willis and Wade.

That optimism was misplaced.

Terrence Bradley – who faces a credible threat of criminal charges from DA Willis’s office regarding allegations of sexual assault – did not disappoint Fani Willis. It wasn’t a great day for the defense. But it wasn’t a bad day, either.

To summarize Bradley’s testimony today: he speculated about the start of the relationship, only had one meeting with Wade about the relationship, and has no personal knowledge as to when the relationship started. All of that, of course, was contradicted by his prior representations to Ms. Merchant.

And so what we saw from Bradley today was nothing short of deception.

Bradley relied on conveniently poor memory to evade direct questions on when the Willis-Wade relationship began, and provided an equally unpersuasive argument on why he made those representations – the ones detrimental to DA Willis and Nathan Wade – via text. His answers were preceded by long pauses as Bradley thought of what he needed to say. Many times during his testimony he would ask for the question to be repeated, as if to give himself more time to deliberate before he spoke.

Here are some examples from the direct examination of Bradley by Ashleigh Merchant:

When asked when the relationship started?

“I cannot answer that.”

When did you first get knowledge of their relationship:

“I don’t know how to answer that… I can’t give you a date.”

Did you know about the relationship in 2019?

“There wasn’t a specific date.”

Did the relationship start prior to your 2021 contract with Fulton County?

“I don’t recall… I don’t recall any specific dates.”

Why did you tell Ms. Merchant that the relationship started when Fani Willis was a Fulton County magistrate judge?

“I was speculating… I didn’t have … no one told me… I was speculating.”

Why did you speculate about the start of the relationship?

“I don’t know.”

Did Nathan Wade tell you that they had sex at Fani Willis’s office prior to her election as District Attorney?

“I don’t recall.”

Did Nathan Wade ever tell you that he met Fani Willis at her condo?

“I don’t recall.”

On direct examination by Trump attorney Steve Sadow, Bradley’s poor memory continued. Sadow faced a challenge – one which he effectively navigated. Instead of focusing on Bradley’s poor memory concerning factual statements, he drove home “how clear it is that Bradley’s lying about his memory.”

Yet there were some important points that Sadow (and others) were able to draw out from Bradley:

  • Bradley could not recall whether there was more than one meeting with Nathan Wade discussing his relationship with Fani Willis.

  • Bradley could not explain why he “speculated” to Ms. Merchant about the relationship between Willis and Wade.

  • Bradley provided direct and unambiguous comments to Ms. Merchant – regarding the trips and the beginning of the relationship – that he did not, at the time, attribute to speculation.

  • Bradley could not answer why he thought the relationship started when it did.

  • When asked if he told any lies to Ms. Merchant about the relationship, Bradley responded: “I don’t recall whether any of it was a lie or not.”

  • Bradley admitted he knew Merchant was seeking to disqualify Willis and Wade before he disclosed their affair, and conceded there was no uncertainty and no statement of speculation when he discussed the affair.

Fulton County had no questions for Bradley at the close of direct examination by the defense.

It’s unclear whether Judge McAfee was persuaded by Bradley’s performance or convinced by Bradley’s poor memory. We hope that isn’t the case, and we hope Judge McAfee can see right through Bradley’s revisionism. Not only does Bradley’s testimony contradict his prior statements to Merchant, but they also contradict Bradley’s statements regarding his attorney-client privilege with Wade.

For example, Bradley previously said the privilege would not let him comment on his text that the relationship began before Wade’s appointment. Now Bradley maintains he was only “speculating” about the relationship. Both things cannot be true.

We also observe that Judge McAfee is under no obligation to believe Bradley’s current story. Under Georgia law, “a prior inconsistent statement of a witness who takes the stand and is subject to cross-examination is admissible as substantive evidence.”

The decision whether to believe Bradley won’t be made in a vacuum, as Judge McaFee has seen evidence that supports what Bradley previously said to Merchant in early January 2024: the testimony of Robin Yeartie, who had direct knowledge of the relationship; and the texts between Willis and Wade which are circumstantial evidence of an ongoing affair (and also contradict the testimony of both).

What’s next?

On Friday, the parties will present what is, essentially, their closing arguments on the disqualification issue. He hasn’t made an express ruling on the admission of the text messages, and left the door open to additional fact finding (meaning witnesses), if necessary.

Final Thoughts.

Even after today, it has become difficult, in light of the witness testimony and text records and deceit from DA Willis and Wade, to believe that Judge McAfee will find there to be no actual or potential conflict. But as we said a few days ago, that’s no guarantee. It’s no certainty. Judges are tricky to predict, even where the evidence is clear.

But there’s something else for Judge McAfee to consider.

The “conflict” now isn’t just about the relationship and the financial benefit – it’s about lies to the Court, the violations of Georgia law and legal ethics in order to ensure their control over the prosecution of Donald Trump, et al. And that ties into the role of Judge McAfee, who is tasked with “establishing, maintaining, and enforcing high standards of conduct, and shall personally observe such standards of conduct so that the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary may be preserved.”

That’s a point we hope the defense raises at closing.

Las Vegas News Magazine

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