Judge Scott McAfee Allows Appeal on Fani Willis' Jurisdiction

 May 29, 2024

District Judge Scott McAfee granted Harrison Lloyd a certificate of immediate review, allowing him to challenge Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis's jurisdiction.

According to Conservative Brief, Harrison Lloyd, a former leader of the Black Voices for Trump coalition, received this certificate from Judge McAfee, enabling him to request a review by the Georgia Court of Appeals. This ruling diverges from prior decisions that rejected similar procedural motions to prevent Willis from prosecuting specific crimes.

Judge McAfee's Unexpected Ruling and Its Implications

Judge McAfee indicated his willingness to consider Lloyd’s argument that Willis’ investigation into election-related charges exceeded her jurisdiction. Previously, McAfee ruled that Willis could pursue charges without needing referrals from the state’s election officials, asserting that she had “concurrent jurisdiction.”

Despite upholding his original decision, McAfee’s recent motion for a certificate of review allows an appeals court to re-examine the matter. The Georgia Court of Appeals will now determine if McAfee applied the law correctly regarding the district attorney's authority to file election-related charges without following the customary grand jury process. Lloyd’s legal team has ten days to submit their motion to the appeals court, which will then have 45 days to decide whether to grant the appeal.

Defense Challenges and DA Willis' Statements

Lloyd, who could not post bail, described the conditions in Fulton County jail as more akin to those in a third-world country. Meanwhile, DA Willis made headlines with a bold statement regarding the prosecution of Trump and his co-defendants, saying that “the train is coming.”

Willis had previously faced near disqualification due to a romantic relationship with a former lead prosecutor. Despite this, she continued to work on the case during the related court proceedings, maintaining that the disqualification efforts did not impede her progress.

Legal Experts Criticize Willis' Public Comments

Legal analysts have raised concerns about Willis' public comments, suggesting they could undermine public trust and potentially bolster arguments for gag orders and disqualification. Atlanta defense attorney Andrew Fleischman and Georgia State University law professor Clark Cunningham voiced their criticisms, likening Willis’ statements to campaign remarks.

Fleischman stated that while it is acceptable for prosecutors to announce indictments and charges, Willis’ comments went beyond legitimate law enforcement purposes and appeared politically motivated. He argued that such remarks could harm public trust in the trial’s integrity.

"They strengthen arguments for gag orders and disqualification, and they harm the public’s trust that this trial is about holding people accountable for crimes they have committed, rather than as part of an overall political strategy," Fleischman said.

Cunningham echoed these sentiments, noting that Willis’ statements to CNN seemed tailored for voters in upcoming elections. He emphasized that implying defendants would face harsher plea deals because the motions filed seemed designed to increase the condemnation of the accused.

Potential Impact on the Case

Despite their criticisms, both Fleischman and Cunningham believe Willis' comments are unlikely to affect the case’s outcome significantly. However, they acknowledged that the defense might use her public statements as evidence at trial.

Fleischman suggested that the defense might prefer Willis to continue making such comments, as they could submit clips of her interviews during the trial. Cunningham remarked that the credibility of the case has suffered due to Willis’ conduct and suggested that her taking a leave could help restore trust in the prosecution.


The recent ruling by Judge Scott McAfee to grant a certificate of immediate review in the Georgia case against former President Donald Trump opens a new front in the legal proceedings. The decision allows Harrison Lloyd to challenge the jurisdiction of DA Fani Willis, whose public comments have stirred controversy among legal analysts. As the Georgia Court of Appeals reviews the matter, the outcome could reshape the course of this high-profile case.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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