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Georgia Judge Sets Hearing Date To Consider Dismissing Trump Case

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


A judge in Georgia set a date on Monday for a hearing into whether former President Donald Trump’s case in Fulton County should be dismissed on free speech grounds.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ordered the hearing for March 28, and he is expected to hear motions from Trump and some other defendants in the case, which was brought by District Attorney Fani Willis.

McAfee has already dismissed similar free speech arguments from previous co-defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, both of whom have since pleaded guilty.

“According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trump would have to admit that his claims about the 2020 election being rigged were false to pursue a First Amendment defense,” Raw Story reported.

In a court filing, Trump attorney Steve Sadow argued: “Here, the indictment’s recitation of supposedly ‘false’ statements and facts, undisputed solely for purposes of a First Amendment-based general demurrer/motion to dismiss, show that the prosecution of President Trump is premised on content-based core political speech and expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment.”

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Sadow further argued that the remedy for false speech “is speech that is true … not a state (racketeering) prosecution against the former president of the United States.”

Willis made headlines again last weekend when she said the “train is coming” when speaking about the prosecution of Trump and his 14-co-defendants.

Willis, who almost faced disqualification in the previous president’s election subversion case due to her romantic relationship with her former lead prosecutor, has stated that she continued to work on the case during the two months of related court action and that the disqualification effort did not hinder her progress.

“While that was going on, we were writing responsive briefs, we were still doing the case in a way that it needed to be done. I don’t feel like we’ve been slowed down at all. I do think there are efforts to slow down this train, but the train is coming,” Willis said Saturday at an Atlanta-area Easter event.

“We’re not going to miss or skip a beat because of all the noise or distraction on one case. We’re going to continue to do our work,” she added.

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The DA told CNN that she doesn’t feel as if she needs to restore her reputation among Fulton County residents.

“I’m not embarrassed by anything I’ve done. I guess my greatest crime is I had a relationship with a man, but that’s not something I find embarrassing in any way. And I know that I have not done anything that’s illegal,” Willis told the outlet.

“I am not a perfect human being, but what I am is a hard-working human being, and a human being that loves the community I serve and who understands this seat does not belong to me, it belongs to the people,” Willis later added, telling CNN she feels “more loved” by the community following the intense scrutiny over her relationship with ex-special prosecutor Nathan Wade. “And as long as I’m here, I’m going to try to do the job in a way that’s honorable.”

Atlanta defense attorney Andrew Fleischman told Salon that Willis “should not” be making those comments.

“Prosecutors announcing at the outset of a case who they’re indicting, the charges being brought and why is fine, but they should not make public statements that have no legitimate law enforcement purpose even in the context of a political campaign,” Fleischman said.

“They strengthen arguments for gag orders and disqualification, and they harm the public’s trust that this trial is about holding people accountable for crimes they have committed, rather than as part of an overall political strategy,” Fleischman added.

Georgia State University law professor Clark Cunningham made similar comments, telling Salon that Willis’ comments to CNN sounded like “campaign remarks” that “were really addressed to an audience of voters for the upcoming primary and general election.”

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