Comment: This particular development might be a 'blow to Trump', but he need not fear the overall direction this showtrial is taking: The Fulton County DA is self-owning her own case against him...

Fani Willis trial Trump prosecutor Georgia
© Associated PressDistrict Attorney Fani Willis launches into one of several tirades during her trial.
Potentially damning text messages detailing when Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis' affair with Nathan Wade began won't be considered by a judge when he rules on whether the top prosecutor should be thrown off the Trump election fraud case โ€” in a blow to former president's case.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said Friday text messages between Wade's former divorce attorney Terrence Bradley and another defense lawyer couldn't be admitted as evidence because Bradley spilled information that was covered under attorney-client privilege.

Ashleigh Merchant โ€” representing Trump co-defendant Mike Roman who's been spearheading the effort to oust Willis from the case โ€” tried to bring her texts with Bradley into evidence as he testified Friday.

Judge Scott McAfee fani willis nathan wade
© Getty ImagesJudge Scott McAfee barred the texts saying they are privileged since Bradley was Wadeโ€™s divorce lawyer
"I sent you a statement saying [Wade and Willis] met while serving as magistrate judges and they started a relationship at that time, and you corrected me and said, 'No, it was municipal court,'" Merchant asked Bradley while reading from their messages.

Willis became Chief Municipal Judge for South Fulton in Georgia in 2019, a position she gave up when she was elected as DA in 2021, placing the time frame Bradley was referring to in that period โ€” well before the pair say they first became romantic in 2022.

When Willis' relationship with Wade, whom she hired as special prosecutor in the election fraud case, began is key.

Roman claims they were romantically involved before Wade was appointed to the case in 2021, presenting a conflict of interest that should disqualify Willis from prosecuting it.

Terrence Bradley Nathan wade fani willis divorce lawyer
© Associated PressMessages between Terrence Bradley โ€” Wadeโ€™s former divorce lawyer โ€” and a defense lawyer canโ€™t come in because of attorney-client privilege. 
Wade, who is still in the process of divorcing his wife, and Willis have both maintained they did not start a relationship into 2022 and broke up a year later.

However, McAfee ultimately barred this message and others from being admitted as evidence, finding they were covered by attorney-client privilege from Bradley's time working as Wade's divorce attorney.

"He may have told you something, but there is no evidence the client ever waived or allowed him to convey that to you," McAfee said to Merchant.

Another text between Merchant and Bradley โ€” also Wade's former law partner โ€” that the judge disallowed was from Sept. 18, 2023, when Merchant asked Bradley if he knew anyone who would make a sworn statement about Wade and Willis' relationship.

"No, no one would freely burn that bridge," Merchant said, reading from Bradley's text to her.

Merchant and Trump's lawyer Steven Sadow vigorously sought to get the messages allowed as evidence and to be able to probe Bradley on what they meant.

Ashleigh Merchant Trump Mike Roman fani willis
© Getty ImagesAshleigh Merchant โ€” a lawyer for Trump co-defendant Mike Roman โ€” tried to get her texts with Bradley into the hearing.
Anna Cross, a lawyer in Willis' office, argued the messages are simply two lawyers "gossiping" and therefore should be kept out.

Later Friday, McAfee said he would meet privately with Bradley and his lawyer to probe whether he actually had grounds to invoke attorney-client privilege after it came out he wrongly used the privilege on another topic.

Judge Scott McAfee barred the texts saying they are privileged since Bradley was Wade's divorce lawyer Getty Images

If Willis is found to have lied under oath or if Merchant can prove she improperly hired Wade and profited from his lucrative pay, there are grounds for her dismissal.

Judge McAfee is expected to make a ruling in the case next week.