Judge Overseeing Trump’s Georgia Case Donated To Fani Willis Campaign Prior To Appointment

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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case against former President Donald Trump, made a small donation of $150 to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ campaign prior to his appointment.

McAfee, who was sworn in on Feb. 1, 2023 after being appointed by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, made his donation in June 2020 while still working as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to financial disclosures. He will soon have to decide whether Willis should be disqualified over allegations that she financially benefited from appointing her romantic partner, Nathan Wade, to work on the Trump case.

McAfee also formerly worked under Fani Willis when she led the complex trial division in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, according to the New York Times.

Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway told the Daily Caller News Foundation McAfee’s donation was “nominal,” but said it should still have been disclosed to the defendants so they could determine “whether they believed that amounted to a conflict of interest on the part of the judge.” (RELATED: Dramatic Hearing On Fani Willis Corruption Allegations Comes To A Close With Outcome Still Unclear)

“The donation itself is more or less a token amount and was made prior to his becoming a judge,” he said. “But failure to disclose to the defendants a political donation to the prosecutor can be seen as a present appearance of a conflict of interest. Judges are required to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

McAfee has not shied away from delivering unfavorable decisions to Willis, and reprimanded her several times for her behavior on the stand.

Last week, McAfee oversaw the hearing on Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s motion to disqualify Willis. He previously declined the district attorney’s request to cancel the hearing.

McAfee’s other donations include $200 to Kemp’s campaign in 2018 and $200 to Republican state representative candidate Lyndsey Rudder’s campaign in 2020, according to financial disclosures. McAfee’s wife donated $99 to Willis’ campaign in 2020 and $101 in 2018.

During the primary, Willis was running against former Democratic Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr.

Andrew Fleischman, an Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney, disagreed that the donation needed to be disclosed to the defense.

“It is such a routine part of how Georgia judges and attorneys interact that I don’t think it should have been disclosed, necessarily, past the mandatory disclosures,” he told the DCNF.

The Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct states that judges should “avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives.”


TOPSHOT – Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee listens during a hearing into ‘misconduct’ allegations against Georgia prosecutor Fanni Willis at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 15, 2024. (Photo by ALYSSA POINTER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

During last week’s hearing, Willis and Wade maintained on the witness stand that their relationship began after Wade’s contract started, despite a long-time friend of Willis testifying to the contrary. The two said there is no documentation showing Willis reimbursed Wade for travel expenses because she paid him in cash.

The district attorney’s office and the Superior Court of Fulton County did not immediately respond to requests for comment. McAfee could not be reached.

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