Georgia Judge Drops 6 Charges in Trump Election Case

Georgia Judge Drops 6 Charges in Trump Election Case

On Wednesday, a Georgia judge dismissed several charges against former President Trump in a wide-ranging election case, citing a lack of detail.

Judge Scott McAfee dismissed a total of six charges from the indictment, including three counts against Trump.

The charges dropped against Trump notably involved his alleged pressure campaign on Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, particularly focusing on the controversial call where Trump urged Raffensperger to "find" exactly 11,779 votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state.

These dropped charges were related to alleged attempts to persuade Georgia officials to violate their oaths of office. Some of the dismissed counts also involved Trump's co-defendants, such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

However, McAfee's ruling does not affect the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) charge that each defendant faces, which remains the cornerstone of the prosecution. This charge encompasses all alleged conduct in the case, allowing prosecutors to still reference the Trump-Raffensperger call despite the dropped counts.

McAfee clarified that his decision is separate from his examination of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s relationship with a special prosecutor on the case, with a ruling expected later in the week.

The judge stated that while the charges did contain the "essential" elements of each crime, they lacked sufficient detail for the defendants to mount their defenses. Under the current charges, McAfee noted, the defendants could have potentially violated the law in numerous distinct ways.

McAfee emphasized that his ruling "does not mean the entire indictment is dismissed" and suggested that the district attorney’s office could seek reindictment after supplementing the charges he deemed insufficient.

He also granted a six-month extension from Wednesday for the state to resubmit its case to a grand jury, even if the statute of limitations expires. Additionally, prosecutors could request a certificate allowing them to appeal, which McAfee stated he would likely grant due to a lack of precedent.

This decision marks the first instance where Trump has had charges across his various indictments dismissed. He has pleaded not guilty in each case, with several motions pending seeking to dismiss remaining charges.

Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead Georgia lawyer, praised the ruling, stating that the judge quashed "important counts" in Trump’s indictment and criticizing the prosecution as political and constituting election interference.

Wednesday’s decision dismissed three charges each for Trump and Giuliani, originally facing 13 counts, and one of Meadows's two counts. It also dropped three charges against Ray Smith, a Georgia-based attorney, and one against Bob Cheeley, another Trump-aligned attorney. Another attorney, John Eastman, also had a count dropped.

All of these now-defunct charges were related to allegations of unlawfully soliciting various Georgia officials to violate their oaths of office.

The ruling precedes McAfee’s anticipated decision on whether to disqualify Willis and her office from the case, potentially causing delays to a future trial if she is removed. The judge expects to issue his decision by the end of the week.

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