Judge Overseeing Fani Willis Disqualification Case Says Election Challengers Won’t Change His Ruling

AP Photo/Alex Slitz

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee is expected to return his decision in the motion to disqualify District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump in Georgia any day now.

In the 10 days since closing arguments were heard, McAfee has received a pair of challengers in his May election bid and he has also spoken out for the first time.

On Tuesday’s show, Megyn was joined by attorneys Dave Aronberg and Mike Davis to discuss the judge’s new interview on an Atlanta radio show and what it may reveal about his forthcoming ruling.

The Challengers

Judge McAfee is facing his first election this spring. The 34-year-old former prosecutor was appointed by Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in 2022 to a partial two-year term. If elected, he would serve his first full four-year term on the bench.

The office of Superior Court judge in Georgia is nonpartisan, which means the election does not take place in November. It will be held on May 21 – the same date of the primary for partisan races for Congress and statehouse – and a runoff, if needed, would occur on June 18. 

Candidates had until March 8 to qualify for the race, and McAfee saw two challengers enter the race in the closing days. He will now face off against civil rights attorney Robert Patillo and Tiffani Johnson, a former senior staff attorney for the Fulton County Judge Melynee Leftridge. While the election is nonpartisan, the district is. President Joe Biden received 73 percent of the vote in Fulton County in 2020.

Patillo has previously run for other offices as a Democrat, and, during an appearance on The Shelley Wynter Show last Wednesday, he called the hearing on the motion to disqualify Willis a “clown show” and implied it is not “a well-run courtroom.” He later told WANF that McAfee is “a fine young man,” but he thinks he “can do a better job in this position.”

The Interview

Not everyone is buying that line of reasoning. On Friday, McAfee spoke out for the first time since the proceedings began in his own sit-down with Wynter. He was asked by the host if he believes Patillo’s run is politically motivated, to which he gave his opponent the benefit of the doubt:

WYNTER: Do you feel that Patillo’s run is being backed by Fani Willis… that this is a pressure campaign to force you to, and I’m doing air quotes, ‘do the right thing’ or ‘make the right right decision’? Do you feel that way?

MCAFEE: No… I think he seems sincere, so I’m not the type that I’m going to presume the worst of that sort… The biggest thing that I wanted to come on and make sure I told you today is that even if it is, it doesn’t matter because it is absolutely not going to play into my decision in any way. 

No job is worth my integrity and, you know, when you ask that question what I think about is, you know, I’ve got two kids – five and three. They’re too young to have any idea of what’s going on or what I do. But what I’m looking forward to one day is maybe they will grow up a little bit and they ask me about it. And I’m looking forward to looking them in the eye and telling them I played it straight and I did the best I could.

He then asked him whether or not the public can still expect a decision by Friday. The answer appears to be yes:

WYNTER: Can you tell us… are you anywhere closer to that two-week decision on the election interference? Are we closer to that? Are we sooner than two weeks or outside of two weeks? How are we looking?

MCAFEE: I gave myself a deadline because I knew everyone wanted an answer. And I’ll tell you, an order like this takes time to write. There’s a lot that needs to– I have to go through. And so, you know, I’ve had, again I’ll emphasize this: I’ve had a rough draft and an outline before I ever heard a rumor that someone wanted to run for this position, so the result is not going to change because of politics. I am calling it as best I can in the law as I understand it. So, I still feel like I’m on track to having that done by the deadline that I put on myself.

While Megyn said it is “interesting” to hear McAfee say he had a rough draft ready, Davis wasn’t convinced. “I am very concerned about the politics here,” he explained. “The fact is that he said he was going to wait two weeks to make his decision and during that two weeks was the filing deadline to figure out whether he was going to get a challenger and, sure as hell, he got a Democrat challenger.”

But Aronberg was willing to take the judge at his word “It’s funny that I am the one defending the Federalist Society judge… [but] I like what he’s done,” he shared. “People on my side of the aisle have been critical of [McAfee], saying he’s allowed this to become a circus. But I don’t agree. I don’t blame him for that.”

Instead, he said Willis and Wade brought this hearing on themselves. “Remember, it was Nathan Wade who submitted the sworn affidavit saying the relationship didn’t start until afterwards and [he] got repaid half,” Aronberg concluded. “Because they did that, that made the issue of lying important. That’s why [McAfee] had to do all of these interviews and hearings, and so on.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Aronberg and Davis by tuning in to episode 744 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.