April 21, 2024

Trump NY hush money, Georgia misconduct hearings

3:55 p.m. ET, February 15, 2024

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis explains why she kept large amounts of cash

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testifies during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 15, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alyssa Pointer/Pool/Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis testified Thursday that she keeps cash — sometimes thousands of dollars — in her house as she was peppered with questions about how she reimbursed prosecutor Nathan Wade in cash for trips they took together.

“When we were growing up, my daddy had three safes in the house. So my father bought me a lockbox and I keep cash in the house,” Willis testified as she was pressed by defense attorney Ashleigh Merchant.

“For many, many years, I have kept money in my house. That money, in my worst days, has probably only been $500 or $1,000. At my best days, I’ve probably had $15,000 in my house in cash. At all times, there’s going to be cash in my house or wherever I’m laying my head,” she added later.

Why it matters: The cash has been a key sticking point in a hearing underway Thursday over allegations that Wade and Willis were in an improper relationship that included luxury trips taken together in recent years. Wade testified earlier in the day that Willis repaid him for one such trip, to Belize, in cash but that he didn’t have a record of it. Willis said she re-paid Wade $2,500 for that trip.

Back-and-forth in court: The exchanges between Willis and Merchant have turned tense, with Willis saying the defense attorney’s questions were based on lies.

“Ms. Merchant’s interests are contrary to democracy, not to mine,” Willis said.

“It’s ridiculous that you lied on Monday and yet here we still are,” Willis said of a hearing earlier this week on efforts by Willis to stop Thursday’s hearing from occurring.

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