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Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Georgia Case On 1st Amendment Grounds

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


A judge in Fulton County denied the motion of former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants, who sought to have the Georgia election interference case dismissed based on First Amendment arguments.

“Trump and others had argued, in part, that the Fulton County indictment violated their First Amendment right to challenge the 2020 presidential election results,” ABC News reported.

In his order denying the motion, Judge Scott McAfee wrote: “Even core political speech addressing matters of public concern is not impenetrable from prosecution if allegedly used to further criminal activity.”

The judge said that the indictment alleges more than just political statements.

“The State has alleged more than mere expressions of a political nature,” the judge wrote. “Rather, the indictment charges the Defendants with knowingly and willfully making false statements to public officers and knowingly and willfully filing documents containing false statements and misrepresentations within the jurisdiction of state departments and agencies.”

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McAfee also wrote in his ruling that he was unable to find “any authority that the speech and conduct alleged is protected political speech.”

The judge wrote that the protection afforded specifically by the Petition Clause of the First Amendment — which allows the ability to communicate with government officials — “does not extend to allegedly fraudulent petitions.”

“In other words, the law does not insulate speech allegedly made during fraudulent or criminal conduct from prosecution under the guise of petitioning the government,” he wrote.

In August of last year, Donald Trump and 18 others pleaded not guilty to all charges in a racketeering indictment. The indictment accused them of making efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.

Four of the co-defendants later took plea deals and agreed to testify against other defendants. Trump has criticized the district attorney’s investigation, calling it politically motivated.

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Earlier this week, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz claimed in an interview that the “evidence is overwhelming” against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and herself should be on trial for the “worst crimes that I’ve seen prosecutors commit.”

In an interview with Newsmax TV, Dershowitz said Willis “ought to be on trial for perjury, conspiracy to commit perjury, and witness tampering.” He added: “The evidence is overwhelming that she committed perjury, including technical scientific evidence and several witnesses.”

The law professor’s remarks came after former President Donald Trump and eight co-defendants in Willis’ RICO case filed a motion with the state court of appeals over the weekend seeking to have the DA removed from the case for unethical behavior.

Last month, Georgia Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee decided that prosecutor Nathan Wade had to leave a case due to his affair with Willis, who appointed him. He also said that Willis would have to step down if Wade continued working on the case.

After the ruling, Wade resigned from his position but Dershowitz claimed on Tuesday that there is “overwhelming” evidence suggesting that Willis had received payment.

“Essentially she got kickbacks for appointing this highly unqualified person to head the prosecution,” said Dershowitz. “I sure hope the appellate court takes the case and throws her out of the case and recommends that there be a criminal investigation … we have to have an independent prosecutor of some kind looking into what is an open and shut case of perjury.”

Critics say that both Willis and Wade lied in McAfee’s court about the start date of their relationship, among other questionable testimony.

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