Judge in Georgia election interference case dismisses three counts against Trump


ATLANTA — The judge presiding over the election interference case in Georgia has dismissed some of the criminal counts against former President Donald Trump.

In a ruling Wednesday, Judge Scott McAfee found that six of the counts in the indictment against Trump and some of his co-defendants, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows and lawyer Rudy Giuliani, lacked sufficient detail. The judge left open the possibility that prosecutors could re-file the counts.

Former President Trump Holds Super Tuesday Election Night Event At Mar-A-Lago (Win McNamee / Getty Images)Former President Trump Holds Super Tuesday Election Night Event At Mar-A-Lago (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

Former President Trump Holds Super Tuesday Election Night Event At Mar-A-Lago (Win McNamee / Getty Images)

“As written, these six counts contain all the essential elements of the crimes but fail to allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of their commission, i.e., the underlying felony solicited. They do not give the Defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently,” McAfee wrote.

The counts the judge tossed involved accusations that Trump and his co-defendants had requested state officials violate their oaths of office. The judge found that the language used in the indictment was too “generic” and did not specify which part of which oath of which constitution — the state or federal — they’d been accused of requesting the officials to violate.

“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,” the judge wrote, “fatal.”

One of the dismissed counts involved Trump’s call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “find” enough votes for him to be declared the victor in the state, which he’d lost to Joe Biden. Another involves a letter Trump sent to Raffensperger urging him to “decertify” the 2020 election results.

Trump was indicted on three of the six counts that were dismissed. He still faces 10 other counts in the case.

In a footnote, the judge said the DA’s office could “seek a reindictment supplementing these six counts” with more information. He also allowed the “overt acts” the counts were tied to to remain as part of the larger racketeering indictment.

Trump attorney Steve Sadow praised the judge’s decision in a statement. “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,” he said.

A spokesperson for Giuliani, Ted Goodman, praised the ruling and said, “The sooner this whole show trial is dismissed, the sooner we can restore the rule of law in this country.”

The DA’s office and Raffensperger’s office declined to comment.

Trump and the co-defendants affected by the ruling, including Giuliani, Meadows and lawyer John Eastman, have pleaded not guilty.

The decision comes ahead of another highly anticipated ruling McAfee is expected to issue this week — whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified from the case. The judge has said he plans to issue that ruling in the coming days.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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