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Georgia judge refuses Trump motion to dismiss election tampering case

Trump's lawyers argued that the case should be thrown out as they said the prosecution violated the former president's free speech rights.
Georgia judge refuses Trump motion to dismiss election tampering case
Posted at 1:13 PM, Apr 04, 2024

A Georgia judge will not throw out an election tampering case against former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants after the defendants argued that their prosecution violates their First Amendment’s protections of political speech and activity.

Trump is facing 10 criminal counts in Georgia, including an alleged violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. 

The RICO Act charges stemmed from alleged attempts to interfere with the 2020 election illegally. Georgia was one of several states Trump lost that he and his allies contested. 

The RICO Act is meant to punish those who conspire with others to commit a variety of racketeering offenses. 

Judge Scott McAfee ruled on the motion Thursday afternoon. 

"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," McAfee wrote. "Even core political speech addressing matters of public concern is not impenetrable from prosecution if allegedly used to further criminal activity."

Trump attorney Steve Sadow responded to McAfee's order. 

"President Trump and other defendants respectfully disagree with Judge McAfee’s order and will continue to evaluate their options regarding the First Amendment challenges," Sadow said. "It is significant that the court’s ruling made clear that defendants were not foreclosed from again raising their as-applied challenges at the appropriate time after the establishment of a factual record."

SEE MORE: Key attorney in Trump's Georgia election case speaks with Scripps News

A trial date has not yet been set. The case has faced some delays as defendants tried to remove prosecutor Fani Willis from the case due to her alleged relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. 

Ultimately, McAfee allowed Willis to continue her prosecution against Trump and his associates, but Wade stepped down in the wake of the decision. 

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