What happens to Trump’s Georgia RICO prosecution if Judge McAfee loses the election?

by Fulton Watch News Feed

Incumbent Georgia judges are rarely challenged in elections and usually retain their seats on the bench. But what  happens to their ongoing cases if they don’t? 

It’s an administrative hassle that usually doesn’t raise questions – but this year, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee is up for his first election, which has attracted two potential challengers, since Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him to the bench in 2023. Among the cases on his docket is the sprawling election racketeering prosecution of former President Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants. 

McAfee has the advantage of incumbency, and he’s received high praise from many legal observers for his tempered handling of the high-profile and contentious case.

Still, he faces at least one challenger, civil rights attorney and talk radio host Robert Patillo, in the nonpartisan judicial primary on May 21. Another challenger, Tiffani Johnson, a former Fulton assistant solicitor, was disqualified earlier this month, because she lives in DeKalb County, not Fulton. Johnson’s campaign said she’ll appeal the decision, because if she won, she’d move to Fulton before taking the bench. 

So, what would happen to the Trump RICO case in Georgia if McAfee doesn’t retain his seat? 

There’s not a clear answer, but the case certainly wouldn’t disappear. It could be assigned to any other Fulton Superior Court judge – including McAfee’s potential successor. 

But generally, cases before Georgia judges who get replaced are not “randomly reassigned,” said Anthony Michael Kreis, a constitutional law professor at Georgia State University. 

“They would basically be taken on by the new judge,” he said. However, the parties in a case potentially could contest the reassignment, depending on their track history with the new judge.  

“There might be particular challenges to the judge sitting on certain cases, if their impartiality is questioned by prior…

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