The lawsuit, filed by lawyer Ashleigh Merchant who is representing Trump co-defendant Michael Roman, asserts that the District Attorney's Office is intentionally withholding information sought in Open Records Act requests in advance of the upcoming hearing, according to AJC Politics. The DA's Office said in a recent letter that it has complied with state law.
This comes following an explosive corruption scandal that revealed special prosecutor Nathan Wade is DA Fani Willis's alleged secret lover and that Wade had been hired by Willis to secure a prosecution against the former president and his 18 co-defendants.
The scandal was first revealed by Trump co-defendant, Mike Roman, who argued that the two should be disqualified from the case citing a conflict of interest. Earlier this month, Merchant filed a motion detailing the allegations and claimed that Willis had financially benefited from the relationship with Wade, revealing that he had paid to take her on extravagant vacations with taxpayer money he received after she retained him as special prosecutor.
In the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Fulton State Court, Merchant asserts that the DA's office is intentionally withholding its responses to her Open Records Act requests in advance of the hearing.
"Mr. Roman believes that Willis’ use of money budgeted to (the DA’s office) is of utmost importance in evaluating whether Willis and Wade have an irreparable and fatal conflict of interest and whether, and to what extent, Willis has otherwise used public monies for personal gain," the lawsuit states.
Furthermore, Merchant, who is the president of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, claimed that the DA's Office is not complying with the law.
"It is disappointing to have to file lawsuits to obtain access to records that the public is entitled to," said Merchant. "We believe that transparency is vital to an open and responsible government and we hope that this can be resolved quickly so that we can get the public documents we are entitled to receive."
Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the Georgia election case, scheduled the February 15 hearing to address the allegations and ordered Willis to submit a written response by February 2. Willis has not yet responded.
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