Willis opts not to retake witness stand in disqualification hearing

The questioning led to a series of uncomfortable and sometimes hostile exchanges, with Willis berating the defense attorneys for what she said were “lies.”

But it’s unclear whether the defendants have produced evidence that would lead Judge Scott McAfee to disqualify Willis from the case. For Willis to be removed, the judge would have to find that she took official actions in the case that she intended to benefit from financially, or at least that there is an appearance of such a conflict.

Willis and Wade have strenuously denied any such benefits. They said, for instance, that Willis routinely reimbursed Wade for her share of expenses on the vacations they took.

After being questioned by defense lawyers Thursday, Willis was expected to return to the witness stand on Friday to answer questions from a lawyer from her own office. But at the start of the day’s hearing, a lawyer for the district attorney said she had no questions for Willis.

Other witnesses were expected to testify throughout the day on Friday as the disqualification hearing continued.

Trump himself expressed displeasure with the direction of the hearing on Truth Social, saying the questioning by defense lawyers on Thursday had been “pretty weak” and suggesting they should have pressed Willis further on how she came to accumulate stockpiles of cash in her house.

“I guess they don’t want to insult her,” Trump said of the defense lawyers.

The evidence so far has shown that Willis and Wade took a slew of foreign and domestic vacations and cruises together, and both Willis and Wade testified that they roughly split the cost — with Willis reimbursing Wade in cash. Defense attorneys repeatedly expressed surprise and exasperation that Willis did not corroborate the bills she paid with evidence of cash withdrawals or other bank records.

McAfee may also be considering whether Willis and Wade’s description of their relationship — which they insist began months after Wade joined her team — as accurate. Defense attorneys insist that the two began dating more than a year before the Trump probe began, and one witness on Thursday, a former “close friend” of Willis, supported that timeline. But Willis and Wade both testified that it didn’t start until March 2022.

If McAfee is persuaded they were dishonest, it could have ramifications for the case because it would contradict sworn court filings lodged with the judge earlier this month.

The hearing is likely to extend through the day on Friday, as defense attorneys prepare to call Wade’s former law partner, Terrence Bradley, who they say was aware of Willis and Wade’s relationship when Wade filed for divorce from his wife of more than 20 years in 2021. But Bradley — who briefly took the stand on Thursday — has resisted answering personal questions about Wade, claiming attorney-client privilege. He briefly represented Wade in his divorce proceedings at the time.

Lawyers with Willis’ office said they intend to call several witnesses as well, including her father, who can testify to Willis’ living arrangements and personal relationship during the time period in question.

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