Atlanta

EXCLUSIVE: Judge McAfee talks about upcoming ruling over to remove Willis from Trump case

ATLANTA — Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that he will rule on whether to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from the state’s RICO case against former president Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants on Friday.

There’s a lot riding on the judge’s decision, including the future of the case, not to mention Willis’ career as a prosecutor.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke exclusively to McAfee on the eve of that decision.

“What can you tell us about the timing of your order on the Fulton DA disqualification issue?” Winne asked McAfee.

“I made a promise to everybody. These kind of orders take time to write. I need to say exactly what I want to, and I plan to stick to the timeline I gave everyone,” McAfee said.

“So this week?” Winne asked McAfee.

“Should be out tomorrow,” McAfee said.

Winne spoke with McAfee as he attended a Rotary Club meeting Thursday in Roswell.

“The message I want to convey is no ruling of mine is ever going to be based on politics. I’m going to be following the law the best I understand it,” McAfee said.

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For a superior court judge who wants to retain his or her seat but has opposition, there can be the job of campaigning, and McAfee indicated that’s why he was at the Rotary meeting.

He also spoke about making decisions, like the one expected on defense efforts to disqualify the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office involving allegations about a romantic relationship between Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

“Talk about balancing the job of campaigning to keep your seat and doing the job of a judge in one of the most watched cases in America?” Winne asked McAfee.

“I just focus on the job I’m doing. I’m incredibly grateful for the last year I’ve been able to do this. I took this job not because I wanted to score partisan political points, didn’t go looking for the spotlight. I did it because I love the law and giving people their day in court and being efficient about it,” McAfee said.

McAfee confirmed to Winne that had done a draft of his decision in the Willis disqualification matter before he knew he had opposition in the race to retain the seat to which Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him last year.

He said he’s continued researching, he’s done rewrites and fine-tuning, but the core decision remains the same.

There are two other candidates running against McAfee for his post – Robert Patillo II and Tiffani Johnson.

As for the defense allegations in the election interference case, the prosecution side suggested in a recent legal document was that application of the actual legal standards should mean the indictment should not be dismissed, and the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office should not be disqualified.

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