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Monday April 15th

Judge dismisses six counts of election interference in Trump Georgia election case

<p><em>A nine-page ruling in the Georgia election interference case was issued in critique of six charges claiming that Trump and other defendants had asked public officials to violate their oaths of office (Photo courtesy of </em><a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:President_Donald_J._Trump_in_the_Oval_Office_(44968628495).jpg" target=""><em>Wikimedia Commons</em></a><em> / The White House. November 14, 2018). </em></p>

A nine-page ruling in the Georgia election interference case was issued in critique of six charges claiming that Trump and other defendants had asked public officials to violate their oaths of office (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / The White House. November 14, 2018). 

By Rajika Chauhan
Staff Writer

In another addition to the number of headlines surrounding the Georgia election interference case against former President Donald J. Trump, an Atlanta judge ruled on March 13 to dismiss six of the charges brought forth in the case. Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior court ruled that six of the counts, amongst the total of 41, were non-specific in alleging that Trump and his allies pressured public officials to break the law, according to the New York Times.

The case centers around alleged illegal actions committed by Trump and his campaign officials during and after the 2020 election. The prosecution alleges that Trump and key allies applied political pressure to public officials in Georgia, in efforts to commit election fraud and falsify the results of the Georgia vote. 

The Georgia case is built around a racketeering indictment, which McAfee has left intact. There are still 36 counts standing in the case, with Trump and his former lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, facing the most charges at 10 each. 

According to NPR, a nine-page ruling was issued in critique of six charges claiming that Trump and other defendants had asked public officials to violate their oaths of office. The judge concluded that prosecutors had not sufficiently specified which violations the defendants had encouraged these officials to commit.

“These six counts contain all the essential elements of the crimes but fail to allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of their commission,” McAfee wrote in his ruling. “They do not give the Defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently, as the Defendants could have violated the Constitution and thus the statute in dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways.”

Among the charges quashed is Count 28, which relates to a phone call Trump made to Georgia’s then Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021. AP News reports that he pressured Raffensperger on this phone call to “find” the votes necessary to overturn the results of the election. Count 38 is related to a letter sent by Trump to Raffensperger in September 2021, in which he asked the presidential election to be decertified. 

Counts 2, 6, and 23 allege that defendants broke the law in encouraging Georgia public officials to appoint pro-Trump electors following Biden’s election victory in the state. Count 5 centers around a call that Trump made to David Ralston, then Georgia’s Speaker of the House, in which he pressured Ralston to call a special legislative session and appoint new electors, according to the NYT. 

Trump’s legal team has taken the ruling as a sign of success for the defense, and proof of the illegitimacy of the charges levied against Trump.

“The ruling is a 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.”, said Steven H. Shadow, a lawyer for Trump in a statement 

Prosecutors now have the option to appeal the judge’s ruling or to change the language of the dismissed counts to meet the standards of specificity requested by the court, according to NPR. 

The Georgia case has been plagued by unwanted attention unrelated to the facts of the case in recent weeks, owing to charges of improper professional conduct by prosecutor Fani Willis. It was ruled at the end of last week that Willis is permitted to continue on with her work in the case. Whether the prosecution will move to defend the dismissed charges or continue with the remaining racketeering counts is yet to be seen.




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