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13 Mar, 2024 18:00

Judge dismisses some charges against Trump

Three of the 13 counts in the Georgia election-interference case against the former US president have been dropped
Judge dismisses some charges against Trump

Lawyers for former US President Donald Trump and his allies have won a partial victory in the Georgia election-interference case against them, convincing a judge that several of the charges weren’t backed up by specific allegations of criminal conduct.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee issued his latest ruling in the case on Wednesday, dismissing three of the 13 charges against Trump. He also threw out some of the counts against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and several of the lawyers who challenged Trump’s narrow loss to Joe Biden in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election, including ex-New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani.

The dismissals all concerned indictment counts related to one alleged crime: trying to persuade a public official to violate his or her oath of office. McAfee agreed with an argument made by defense lawyers that prosecutors failed to make specific allegations of the underlying crimes that public officials were pressured to commit.

“They do not give the defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently, as the defendants could have violated the constitutions, and thus the statute, in dozens – if not hundreds – of distinct ways,” McAfee wrote in his ruling.

However, the judge left 35 other charges against Trump and his 14 co-defendants in place. The core allegation against all of the defendants is a racketeering charge related to their efforts to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia.

Trump has claimed that the election was stolen from him through fraud. He has argued, too, that the indictments against him in Georgia and three other cases around the country are part of a politically motivated “witch hunt” to block him from winning back the presidency in his 2024 rematch with Biden.

Steve Sadow, lead defense counsel for Trump, praised McAfee’s decision to “quash important counts of the indictment.” He added, “The ruling is correct application of the law, as the prosecution failed to make specific allegations of any alleged wrongdoing on those counts. The entire prosecution of President Trump is political, constitutes election interference and should be dismissed.”

The judge hasn’t yet ruled on a defense motion to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fanni Willis from the case because she allegedly lied to the court and benefited financially from her intimate relationship with a lawyer she hired to lead the prosecution.