Who to also keep an eye on in the Georgia Trump case

Aug 15, 2023, 5:22pm EDT
Attorney Drew Findling speaks to reporters on Oct. 26, 2022.
Drew Findling. Natrice Miller/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM
politicsNorth America
J.D. Capelouto/

The indictment against former President Donald Trump in Fulton County, Ga., also entangled a lengthy cast of characters accused of participating in a criminal scheme to overturn the election, ranging from a former Kanye West publicist to the ex-White House chief of staff.

There are lots of useful guides out there that help break down all of the defendants. But beyond those charged, a slate of other figures positioned on various sides of the case will be instrumental in how it plays out. Here are some more people to watch out for.

The judge: The case was assigned to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the newest judge in the court. He previously worked as a prosecutor in the county and served as the state’s inspector general. While his judicial experience is limited, he’s already had experience with someone in Trump’s orbit. In June, he fined the former pro-Trump attorney L. Lin Wood $5,000 over disparaging comments Wood made about his former associates.1 One of McAfee’s most important initial responsibilities will be setting a timeline for the case to go to trial.

The #BillionDollarLawyer: Almost exactly a year ago, Trump hired Atlanta-based attorney Drew Findling to represent him in the Fulton probe.2 Known as the #BillionDollarLawyer, Findling is known for representing rappers including Cardi B, members of Migos, and Gucci Mane, and his Instagram shows off his celeb clients.3 Within Atlanta's legal circles, Findling is generally seen as a well-respected, experienced, and skilled defense attorney. He’s also represented a number of political clients in high-visibility cases.

The special prosecutor: Nathan Wade was brought on by District Attorney Fani Willis last year as a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation, including the work of the special purpose grand jury that looked into the case for months. In that role, Wade was instrumental in fighting to ensure witnesses, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, responded to subpoenas to testify.4 Wade could take the lead in the courtroom, but has limited experience trying high-profile cases.5

The RICO expert: Willis is also getting some help from Georgia attorney John Floyd, a nationally recognized expert on anti-racketeering laws who literally wrote the book on state RICO statutes.6 A longtime fixture at the Atlanta-based firm Bondurant Mixson & Elmore, Floyd began lending his racketeering expertise to state prosecutors as a special assistant attorney general in the late 1990s, when he helped convict former Medical College of Georgia researchers for steering millions of dollars meant for the school to their own bank accounts.7 He joined Willis’ team in 2021, but this is not the first time they’ve worked alongside one another on a case: They successfully prosecuted 11 of 12 defendants charged with racketeering and other crimes in connection with a cheating scandal at Atlanta’s public schools, obtaining convictions in 2015.

The election worker: Several of the co-defendants are accused of furthering the election interference scheme by visiting Fulton election worker Ruby Freeman at her home and threatening her with jail time if she didn’t admit to voter fraud. That includes Trevian Kutti, a former publicist for Kanye West and R. Kelly.8 Freeman’s testimony to the House Jan. 6 panel with her daughter was one of the most memorable moments to come from the televised hearings, and she appears slated to be a major witness in the Georgia trial.