HomeTop StoriesJudge rejects attempt to dismiss Trump Georgia case on First Amendment grounds

Judge rejects attempt to dismiss Trump Georgia case on First Amendment grounds

Trump lawyer calls for dismissal of Georgia case


Debunking Trump’s Free Speech Claims in Georgia Election Case

03:28

A Georgia judge on Thursday denied an attempt by former President Donald Trump and 14 others to dismiss the 2020 election case in Fulton County, ruling that the First Amendment does not protect defendants from prosecution.

In a 14-page order, Judge Scott McAfee rejected the defendants’ argument that the charges violate First Amendment protections of political speech and the right to petition.

“[F]Ree speech – including political speech – is not without limitations,” McAfee wrote. “These excluded categories include speech that is integral to criminal conduct, fraud, or speech that poses an imminent threat that the government can prevent.”

Trump and 18 other co-defendants were indicted on state charges by a Fulton County grand jury last year, the culmination of an investigation by District Attorney Fani Willis and her office. Prosecutors alleged that the defendants worked to overturn the election results in Georgia after Trump lost the state in 2020. Trump and most of the other defendants have pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing, while several others have taken plea deals.

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The former president faces ten charges after McAfee has three against him dismissed in an earlier decision.

Defense attorneys challenged the state laws underlying the charges, saying the alleged violations were protected political speech. McAfee ruled that First Amendment protections do not apply because the speech in question was “allegedly made in furtherance of criminal activity.”

“Even core political speech on issues of public interest is not impervious to prosecution if it is allegedly used to further criminal activity,” the judge wrote.

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