Judge in Trump’s Georgia case faces election challenge from civil rights attorney

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Civil rights attorney and Atlanta radio host Robert Patillo is planning to challenge Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who has been overseeing the high-profile election interference case against former President Trump and the case to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, in the upcoming election. 

Patillo, a civil rights attorney, is the former executive director of the social justice group Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which was founded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and has previously billed himself as “a conservative Democrat,” according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Speaking to Fox News Digital, Patillo plans to qualify as a candidate for the position on Thursday. The election is set for May with a possible runoff in June.

McAfee was appointed to the bench by GOP Gov. Brian Kemp last year to fill a vacancy and is up for election after the term ends on Dec. 31, 2024.

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Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee (Alyssa Pointer)

“I’ve always told myself if I had an opportunity to fix it from the inside, I would do so,” Patillo told Fox News Digital. “Our campaign is based on the idea of competency, on compassion and on creating change within the court system.”

“And you have to have an outside voice, someone who’s outside that prosecutor-to-bench pipeline in order to have the ability to make those changes,” Patillo said in a reference to McAfee, a former prosecutor. 

Patillo pointed to Trump’s trial and the recent trial of Atlanta rapper Young Thug as examples of the unequal treatment in the court system.

“We need to have a system that operates the same for all people, a state where you have the rule of law, not the rule of men, that where you get special treatment based upon your celebrity status based upon the amount of money that you have.”

“I think that anybody who’s been through the Fulton County court system would have loved to have had two weeks of hearings on a side issue on your case versus waiting either four or five years for your case to go to trial,” Patillo said, seemingly in a nod to the evidentiary hearings to disqualify Fani Willis.

“I think that we need to have a priority set, when we’re moving cases, we’re getting people processed in and out of custody, where guilty people are being convicted and sent to prison, where innocent people are being allowed to return to their lives. And we’re putting together programs for youthful offenders that keep them out of the system for a lifetime, so we can turn those youthful offenders, instead of lifetime criminals, turn them into carpenters and builders or bus drivers. And then that has to be part of what is on any agenda,” Patillo said. 

Phil Holloway, a conservative legal analyst, posted on X that the Fani Willis “saga just became extra-political.”

McAfee is overseeing the sweeping racketeering case against Trump and 18 co-defendants related to allegations of interference in the 2020 election.

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Jesse Jackson

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson attends the 2nd annual Attorney Benjamin Crump Equal Justice Now Awards at Courtyard by Marriott Los Angeles LAX/Century Boulevard on June 10, 2022. (Unique Nicole/Getty Images)

McAfee is also presiding over allegations brought by a handful of co-defendants that Fani Willis hired special counsel Nathan Wade when they were secretly romantic lovers and financially benefited from his hiring.

The bombshell allegations led to a blockbuster evidentiary hearing last month in which Willis and Wade denied the allegations they were in a relationship when he was hired and that Willis never benefited from Wade’s position because she would reimburse him with cash for all the vacations they took together.

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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (Alex Slitz-Pool/Getty Images)

McAfee is considering the evidence presented in the hearing and is expected to make a decision whether Willis and her team should be disqualified from the case in the next two weeks.

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McAfee said at the start of the proceedings this month that it’s “clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced demonstrating an actual conflict or the appearance of one.”

McAfee could not be immediately reached for comment.

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