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

OPINION | This article contains the author's opinion.

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

McAfee faces the decision on whether Willis should be disqualified for allegedly benefiting from appointing her partner to work on the case.

“The donation itself is more or less a token amount and was made prior to his becoming a judge,” criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway 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, who previously worked under Willis, has also made other political donations.

The situation raises concerns about conflicts of interest, with differing opinions on whether the donation should have been disclosed.

“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,” criminal defense attorney Andrew Fleischman said.

McAfee has not hesitated to challenge Willis and recently presided over a hearing regarding a motion to disqualify her.

Willis and her partner deny any impropriety, but questions remain about their relationship and financial transactions.

The case underscores the importance of judges avoiding both actual and perceived conflicts of interest, as outlined in the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct.

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