Who is Scott McAfee? The judge assigned to Trump’s Georgia election plot case

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee was appointed to the Superior Court of Fulton County earlier this year by Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp – who Mr Trump pressured after the 2020 election

Joe Sommerlad
Tuesday 15 August 2023 12:43 BST
Donald Trump indicted for fourth time

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Louise Thomas

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Judge Scott McAfee has been assigned to preside over Donald Trump’s fourth criminal indictment of the year, as revealed by the 98-page charging document released on Monday evening.

Mr Trump and 18 others, including Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman and Mark Meadows, have been charged in a 41-count indictment announced by Fani Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Georgia – over a sweeping plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the swing state.

The 45th president was caught on tape pressuring Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger to help him “find” the 11,780 votes he needed to overcome Joe Biden’s narrow victory in the Peach State during an official phone call on 2 January 2021.

The publication of that audio after it was leaked to The Washington Post sparked a two-and-a-half year investigation by Ms Willis’s office, resulting in an extensive chargesheet ultimately approved by a grand jury on Monday.

Mr Trump has already been indicted three times: once by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over the falsification of business records to conceal hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and twice by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith over the mishandling of classified documents and plotting to defraud the United States by seeking to overturn Mr Biden’s win.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to all of the earlier charges against him and has, predictably, already claimed the Georgia case is part of an ongoing “witch hunt” being orchestrated against him by his political enemies determined to stop him securing the Republican nomination for president in 2024.

But who is the judge overseeing this latest criminal case?

Judge McAfee was only appointed to the Superior Court of Fulton County earlier this year by Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp.

Mr Kemp was pressured by Mr Trump after the 2020 election when the governor moved to certify the results in accordance with state law.

The Republican governor rejected Mr Trump’s calls to falsely certify the results in his favour – something Mr Trump’s own deputy Mike Pence also rejected at a congressional level on 6 January 2021.

Before being appointed to the superior court, the judge previously served as inspector general in the Georgia Office of the State Inspector General.

Judge Scott McAfee
Judge Scott McAfee (Superior Court of Fulton County)

Prior to that, Judge McAfee was an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, a senior assistant district attorney for Fulton County and, before that, an assistant district attorney for Barrow County, part of the Piedmont Judicial Circuit.

He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University in Atlanta and then his Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law.

One of Judge McAfee’s key early decisions in the racketeering case against Mr Trump and his accused co-conspirators will be picking a date for their trial.

Ms Willis said in a late-night press conference on Monday that she hoped to secure one “within the next six months”, although that will ultimately be his decision.

The judge’s assignment to the case, conducted at random, will raise his national profile, as it has the likes of Judge Aileen Cannon in Florida and Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, DC.

Judge Chutkan has received an enhanced security detail for her own protection after Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked her and accused her of bias against him.

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