Meet 34-year-old Scott McAfee, the judge in Trump’s Georgia case

The judge assigned to the Trump case who has only been on the bench SIX MONTHS: Meet 34-year-old Scott McAfee, the tough former prosecutor who took murderers and robbers to trial – and once worked under Fani Willis

  • McAfee was appointed to the bench by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
  • He has ties to multiple figures in the 2020 Georgia election
  • He will preside over the case for Trump and the 18 co-defendants 

Scott McAfee, the 34-year-old judge who will hear Donald Trump‘s election case in Georgia, only arrived on the bench six months ago and once worked for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

McAfee was randomly assigned the high-profile case. Before Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him a judge, he had a long career as a prosecutor. He worked for the U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta after a stint for Willis.

Kemp and Willis aren’t the only ties McAfee has to key people involved in the aftermath of the 2020 election, when Trump falsely claimed he won. McAfee also worked with a U.S. attorney Trump forced out for refusing to investigate the then-president’s demand for an investigation into voter fraud.

Judge Scott McAfee, 34, will hear Donald Trump's case in Georgia

‘He’s fair, he’s smart, he listens, he’s professional, and he knows criminal law really well,’ attorney E. Jay Abt, who has had cases before McAfee, told the Wall Street Journal

He also said McAfee had an important quality needed for a case of Trump’s magnitude: patience.

‘If you are a patient person, you can be a good judge,’ Abt said. 

Early in his legal career, McAfee worked for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, at the same time Willis worked there.

He handled felony cases and then was assigned to the complex trial division. The division, at the time, was led by Willis. She later became district attorney in 2021 after McAfee had left the office.

He resume also includes eight years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Justice Department in the Northern District of Georgia. There, he prosecuted drug trafficking organizations, fraud, and illegal firearms possession. 

Byung Pak was the U.S. attorney at the time of McAfee’s stint. He was appointed to the job by Trump but the then-president later forced Pak out of office when he refused to open an investigation into Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in Georgia.

Months after Pak resigned under pressure from Trump, Kemp appointed McAfee to be Georgia’s inspector general. In that post, McAfee oversaw waste, fraud and sexual-harassment cases in state government.

Donald Trump faces a total of 13 charges in Georgia, one of four criminal cases against him

Judge McAfee in his Georgia courtroom; he's been on the bench for six months

Scott McAfee is married with two children - he is seeking re-election to the bench in 2024

Kemp was also under pressure from Trump, who was insisting he won the state. Multiple investigations found no investigations of voter fraud in Georgia.

Trump, and his 18 co-defendants, face racketeering charges for what Willis calls a sprawling conspiracy to subvert the 2020 election results in Georgia, with the former president as the ringleader.

‘The indictment alleges that rather than abide by Georgia’s legal process for election challenges, the defendants engaged in a criminal, racketeering enterprise to overturn Georgia’s presidential election results,’ she said in her charging statement.

The former president faces a total of 13 charges in the case, one of four criminal proceedings against him. 

McAfee will handle the case for Trump and all 18 co-defendants. 

He is young for a judge. State judges average around 59 years old, according to a study from the American Constitution Society.

Despite the association with Willis, a Democrat, McAfee has a conservative background. 

While at the University of Georgia’s law school, he was the vice president of the Federalist Society, a conservative law group.

McAfee is known in Atlanta legal and political circles as a conservative, Atlanta defense attorney Tom Church told the Washington Post, adding: ‘He’s not an ideologue.’ 

McAfee was appointed to the bench by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp (above) of Georgia

McAfee worked in the Atlanta district attorney's office at the same time Fani Willis (above) did

Most judges in Georgia are elected but McAfee was appointed by Kemp – and sworn into office on Feb. 1 – to fill a vacancy.  

He is running for election to a full four-year term on the bench in 2024. 

McAfee, who plays the cello, received his undergraduate degree from Emory University in music, where he received a scholarship to play in the university’s orchestra. 

He grew up in Kennesaw, Georgia, and is married with a wife and two children. 

He also is a volunteer scuba diver and captain of his tennis team.


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