Fani Willis Dealt Blow as Judge to Hear Donald Trump Arguments

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ case against former President Donald Trump in Georgia may have been dealt a blow after the judge presiding over the matter agreed to hear pretrial motions and an appeal against Willis’ ability to bring charges against one of the defendants.

In August, Trump and 18 other defendants were indicted as part of Willis’ probe into alleged interference in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

On March 28, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee is expected to hear arguments from Trump’s lawyers that the Georgia election interference case is intended to criminalize political speech. He is also set to hear two pretrial motions from David Shafer, a former chair of the Georgia Republican Party.

Additionally, McAfee has decided to allow an appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals by Harrison Floyd, a former director of Black Voices for Trump, whose lawyers argue that Willis did not have the authority to bring election-related charges against him.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis
District Attorney Fani Willis in the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta on March 1. Judge Scott McAfee is set to hear new arguments in the ongoing elections interference case that Willis brought against former President…


In a 98-page indictment, Willis said, among other charges, that Trump had “unlawfully conspired” to change the result of the election. She also alleged that the former president violated Georgia’s racketeering act.

Trump has denied all charges and has repeatedly criticized Willis.

Thursday, McAfee is expected to hear arguments on a filing from Trump’s lawyer in which they argue that the election interference case is an attack on the former president’s First Amendment right to free speech.

“The First Amendment, in affording the broadest protection to political speech and discussion regarding governmental affairs, not only embraces but encourages exactly the kind of behavior under attack in this Indictment,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

In response, prosecutors said the indictment was “based on criminal acts, not speech,” and that when speech was involved in the indictment it was “speech integral to criminal conduct, fraud, perjury, threats, criminal solicitation, or lies that threaten to deceive and harm the government.”

Newsweek has contacted the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office via email for comment.

McAfee is also due to hear arguments on two pretrial motions from Shafer, the former Georgia GOP chair. His lawyers argue that he was acting legally when he and other Republicans signed a certificate that said Trump had won the state of Georgia in the 2020 presidential election.

That certificate also asserted that the signatories were the “duly elected and qualified” electors for Georgia, the lawyers said.

Floyd, another defendant, has now been granted leave to appeal an earlier court decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals. Floyd’s lawyers have argued that Willis did not have the authority to investigate him or bring election-related charges without a referral from the State Election Board.

The court ruled against Floyd in January, but he can now appeal that decision following McAfee’s ruling. Floyd is facing three charges related to his alleged involvement in efforts to coerce former election worker Ruby Freeman to falsely admit to election fraud.

Trump’s lawyers previously sought to remove Fani Willis from the case because of her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade.

In February, McAfee ruled that Willis’ romantic relationship with Wade created an “appearance of impropriety,” and that he had to be removed or Willis could not continue to pursue the charges against Trump and others in connection with attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.

Wade offered his resignation hours after McAfee’s ruling, saying in a letter to Willis that he was doing so “in the interest of democracy, in dedication to the American public and to move this case forward as quickly as possible.”