Judge Throws Away Trump Attempt To Have Georgia Election Case Dismissed

In a ruling on Thursday, Judge Scott McAfee decided against an effort from former President Donald Trump and 14 of his co-defendants in his 2020 election-related charges in Georgia to get the case thrown out.

Trump’s legal team had tried to get the charges dismissed on free speech grounds, arguing that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ prosecution violates his First Amendment protections of political speech, freedom of association, and his right to petition.

McAfee, in his ruling, however, decided that Willis has a right to prosecute.

“After considering the extensive briefing, the argument of counsel, and the indictment, the Court finds these vital constitutional protections do not reach the actions and statements alleged by the State,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

“In other words, the law does not insulate speech allegedly made during fraudulent or criminal conduct from prosecution under the guise of petitioning the government. The right to petition is not absolute, nor does it carry ‘special First Amendment status’ that would render claims asserted under it immune from criminal recourse,” he added.

According to McAfee, he is required to interpret Trump and his co-defendants’ indictment “liberally in favor of the State” at the pretrial stage.

He added that “the Court finds that the Defendants’ expressions and speech are alleged to have been made in furtherance of criminal activity and constitute false statements knowingly and willfully made in matters within a government agency’s jurisdiction which threaten to deceive and harm the government.”

The ruling expectedly did not go down well with Trump and his legal team, with the GOP presumptive nominee’s lawyer Steve Saddow promising to “continue to evaluate their options regarding the First Amendment challenges.”

McAfee did leave an opportunity for Trump to challenge the charges on the same free speech grounds at a later time “after the establishment of a factual record.”

McAfee’s ruling comes after he dismissed six charges in the case brought against Trump and his co-defendants, including three against Trump. The charges dismissed alleged that Trump and his co-defendants put pressure on Georgia officials to break their oaths of office and change the results of the 2020 election.

However, the defendants’ lawyers argued that the charges violated their Sixth Amendment rights and due process rights.

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