Before appointment, Trump Georgia judge donated to Fani Willis campaign

 February 24, 2024

Scott McAfee, the judge in charge of the lawsuit involving former president Donald Trump in Fulton County Superior Court, donated $150 to the campaign of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis before he was appointed.

According to financial reports, McAfee made his donation in June 2020 while still working for the Department of Justice (DOJ), as the Daily Caller News Foundation reported. He was sworn in on Feb. 1, 2023, after being chosen by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.

The question of whether Willis should be disqualified as a result of claims that she profited financially from assigning her lover Nathan Wade to work on the Trump case will shortly come before him.

Concern for Conflict

Many believe that this is a conflict of interest that should constitute grounds for dismissal from overseeing the case.

The New York Times reports that McAfee was previously an employee of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis while Willis oversaw the office's complicated trial division.

Despite calling McAfee's donation "nominal," Philip Holloway, a criminal defense attorney and legal analyst based in Atlanta, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the defendants should have been informed so that they could assess "whether they believed that amounted to a conflict of interest on the part of the judge."

He explained that the donation was made before he became a judge and was of a little sum. However, a conflict of interest may exist if the prosecutor conceals the defendant from knowledge that he or she received a political contribution. The very hint of a conflict of interest must be avoided by judges.

Admonition for Willis

McAfee has admonished Willis multiple times for her conduct on the stand and has not shied away from giving her unfavorable verdicts.

Michael Roman, a co-defendant of Trump, moved to disqualify Willis last week, and McAfee presided over the hearing. He had already turned down the district attorney's plea to postpone the hearing.

According to financial filings, McAfee also donated $200 to the campaigns of Kemp in 2018 and Lyndsey Rudder, a Republican running for state representative, in 2020. In 2020, McAfee's wife gave $99 to Willis' campaign, and in 2018, she gave $101.

Paul Howard Jr., a former Democratic district attorney of Fulton County, was Willis's opponent in the primary.

Defense Argument

Atlanta criminal defense attorney Andrew Fleischman was of the opinion that the defense did not need to know about the contribution.

During his interview with the DCNF, he expressed his belief that the matter should not have been released beyond the mandated disclosures since it is a common occurrence between attorneys and judges in Georgia.

The group is required to Avoid both impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in their professional and personal lives, according to the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, which judges are expected to follow.

Last week, in spite of testimony from a longtime acquaintance of Willis's that proved otherwise, Willis and Wade insisted on the witness stand that their relationship began after Wade's contract started. Since she paid Willis in cash, the two of them claimed that no proof exists that he reimbursed Wade for her travel expenditures.

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