DA Fannie Willis testified that the payment was made during a trip with a top attorney. A winery operator recalls paying in paper bills



CNN

After more than two hours of wine tasting at a Napa Valley estate with her top attorney in the Georgia election tampering case, Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis reached into her purse and pulled out about $400 in cash.

According to Stan Brady, who said he hosted Willis and Nathan Wade at Acumen Wines in early 2023, Willis used the money to pay for two bottles of wine — about $150 each — and a $50 tasting.

Brady, who was an estate ambassador for Acumen Wines that day, told CNN he was surprised when Willis used hundreds of dollars in cash — a memorable transaction that he said is rare in Napa Valley. A self-described “news junkie,” he said his memory jogged as he watched Willis and Wade testified last week Under oath about their romantic relationship and under oath to minimize allegations of self-dealing.

The use of cash was a major sticking point during the investigation, as neither Willis nor Wade could produce any records of the money being exchanged. Brady's account of Willis footing the bill for the Napa Valley wine tasting and his method of payment is consistent with the couple's testimony, and Willis' father, John Floyd, He testified at length About his long-standing suggestion that his daughter keep money around.

“I ran and showed her the thing. I was very obviously looking forward to a credit card,” Brady recalled in an interview with CNN on Monday. “She says I'll pay. So there it was. So I put the money and changed it for her, and she was very generous to me.

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Brady told CNN that he has not spoken with the DA's office or defense counsel seeking to disqualify Willis from the Georgia case over his visit to Acumen Wines in 2023. Willis' office declined to comment.

Attorneys on behalf of Donald Trump and other co-defendants want Willis' team disqualified from the criminal case — or have charges thrown out — over allegations the district attorney benefited financially from his relationship with Wade, whom Willis recruited to join the prosecution team in 2021.

During his testimony, Willis was peppered with questions about claims he reimbursed Wade for trips to Aruba, the Bahamas and Belize, as well as for wine tastings, chocolates and caviar in Napa Valley.

Wade testified that Willis paid for at least one vacation excursion and reimbursed her for airfare and other travel. “She paid for the excursions, so the expenses balanced out,” he said.

“I always pay money when I travel,” Willis said of trips with Wade, adding that he reimbursed Wade for some transportation and excursions during the trip.

“He likes wine, I don't like wine to be honest with you,” Willis said during his testimony. At times the tension escalated. “I like Gray Goose.”

Explaining why there were no receipts for Willis' reimbursements and other payments, Wade said Willis did not keep a ledger of what he paid against what he paid.

“In a relationship, madam, you don't – especially men, we don't ask for anything in return. So you don't keep a ledger of what you're paying for versus what she's paid for,” Wade said. “That's why I said it's a moot point because she was so determined and adamant about this independent, strong woman. So he demanded to pay his own way.

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Wade testified before Willis took the stand that Willis reimbursed him in cash for the trip to Belize, but he had no record of it. Willis said he reimbursed Wade $2,500 for the trip.

Brady looks back on his time with Willis and Wade positively.

“These are really good people,” he said. “Every time at the winery I treat people … like you're sitting in my living room. They're the kind of people I'd invite if I had a party at my house. That's what I came away with.

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