Georgia judge dismisses six counts of indictment against Trump and co-defendants

 March 14, 2024

Fulton County, Georgia Judge Scott McAfee ordered Wednesday that six counts of the indictment against former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants be dismissed because the details of the crimes alleged were not sufficient to support the charges. 

The charges that were dropped include solicitation of violation of oath by public officer, and they are the charges that Trump and others tried to get Georgia officials to appoint different electors and to stop vote certification in the state.

"The Court’s concern is less that the State has failed to allege sufficient conduct of the Defendants – in fact it has alleged an abundance. However, the lack of detail concerning an essential legal element is, in the undersigned opinion, fatal," McAfee wrote.

"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," he added.

No felony solicited

Multiple defendants had challenged the specificity of the charges, and McAfee agreed that the indictment failed to specify a felony solicited by the defendants.

"In other words, a naked charge of solicitation cannot survive unless accompanied by additional elements establishing the solicited felony," the judge wrote.

Three of the charges dropped were against Trump, whose attorneys were quick to say they agreed with McAfee and ask for the entire case to be dropped.

"The Court made the correct legal decision to grant the special demurrers and quash important counts of the indictment brought by DA Fani Willis," Steve Sadow said. "The counts dismissed against President Trump are 5, 28 and 38, which falsely claimed that he solicited GA public officials to violate their oath of office."

"The ruling is a correct application of the law, as the prosecution failed to make specific allegations of any alleged wrongdoing on those counts," Sadow added. "The entire prosecution of President Trump is political, constitutes election interference, and should be dismissed."

It's probably not over

Legal experts familiar with DA Fani Willis pointed out that she could refile the charges with the specificity requested, and is likely to do so.

Georgia Law Professor Anthony Michael Kreis said, "Fani Willis has a habit of swinging back hard... I have a hard time believing she won't be back with perfected indictments just to prove a point."

Professor Randall Eliason of George Washington University agreed, posting, "As a general prosecutor rule, if you thought the charge was important enough to bring in the first place, and the problem can be fixed relatively easily, there's usually little reason you wouldn't fix it."

Willis may be holding off on further action until McAfee rules on whether to disqualify her for having an affair with top prosecutor Nathan Wade and possibly using taxpayer money to take vacations with him.

That ruling is expected by the end of this week after McAfee heard testimony and arguments from both sides in late February and early March, announcing he would likely rule on the evidence in the next two weeks.

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Thomas Jefferson
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