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Judge delivers crushing blow to Donald Trump’s election interference case

CBS News
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Election interference case

CBS News

A judge in Georgia has rejected former President Donald Trump’s attempt to dismiss the indictment related to his alleged interference in the 2020 election, citing that First Amendment protection does not apply in this case.

Scott McAfee

CBS News

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee upheld criminal charges against Donald Trump and 14 others in the Georgia election interference case, rejecting arguments that the indictment criminalizes speech protected by the First Amendment.

First Amendment

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The judge’s ruling emphasized that alleged speech “in furtherance of criminal activity” is not protected by the First Amendment, dismissing claims that the charges were based on constitutionally protected political discourse.

After considering

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“After considering the extensive briefing, the argument of counsel, and the indictment, the Court finds these vital constitutional protections do not reach the actions and statements alleged by the State,” the judge ruled.

Facially violate

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“Nor do the statutes themselves facially violate the First Amendment,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled.

Political speech


“They argue this prosecution violates the First Amendment’s protections of political speech and activity, freedom of association, and the right to petition Congress as-applied to their alleged conduct, and further contend that the indicted charges are overbroad,” he said.

Liberally in favor

CBS News

McAfee said that after interpreting the indictment’s language “liberally in favor of the State as required at this pretrial stage, the Court finds that the Defendants’ expressions and speech are alleged to have been made in furtherance of criminal activity and constitute false statements knowingly and willfully made in matters within a government agency’s jurisdiction which threaten to deceive and harm the government.”

Steve Sadow

CBS News

During the previous week, Steve Sadow, the legal representative for the former president and likely Republican candidate, contended that his client’s objections to the 2020 election outcomes were safeguarded under the First Amendment.

Against President Trump

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“There is nothing alleged against President Trump that is not political speech,” he said.

Public concern

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McAfee said in his order that “[e]ven core political speech addressing matters of public concern is not impenetrable from prosecution if allegedly used to further criminal activity.”

Not presented

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“The defense has not presented, nor is the Court able to find, any authority that the speech and conduct alleged is protected political speech,” he added.

Not entirely

CBS News

Interestingly, the judge implied that he has not entirely dismissed the possibility of First Amendment challenges, suggesting that such arguments could be revisited once a factual basis has been set.


CBS News

“Without foreclosing the ability to raise similar as-applied challenges at the appropriate time after the establishment of a factual record, the Defendants’ motions based on First Amendment grounds are denied,” he said.

Respectfully disagree

CBS News

Sadow in a statement following the decision said, “President Trump and other defendants respectfully disagree with Judge McAfee’s order and will continue to evaluate their options regarding the First Amendment challenges.”

Without prejudice

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“It is significant that the court’s ruling was without prejudice, as it made clear that defendants were not foreclosed from again raising their ‘as-applied challenges at the appropriate time after the establishment of a factual record…’” he added.

Significant implications

CBS News

The ruling has significant implications for the case, as it establishes the legal precedent that speech or conduct alleged to be in furtherance of criminal activity is not shielded by the First Amendment.

McAfee’s decision

CBS News

McAfee’s decision reflects the complexities of balancing constitutional protections with allegations of criminal intent, setting the stage for further legal proceedings and potential challenges in the case.

Criminal charges

CBS News

The denial of the dismissal bid has direct implications for Donald Trump and his co-defendants, as they continue to face criminal charges related to the alleged conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

Raising questions

CBS News

The legal proceedings have underscored the potential ramifications for the defendants, raising questions about the trajectory of the case and its impact on their legal strategies and public perception.

Intense debate

CBS News

The case has prompted intense debate around the constitutional protections of political speech and the line between protected expression and alleged criminal conduct.

Legal arguments

Fox News

The legal arguments and rulings in this case have broader implications for the interpretation of the First Amendment in the context of political discourse and its intersection with criminal allegations.

Shaping the trajectory

Fox News

As the case progresses, the legal strategies of the defendants, including Donald Trump, and the prosecution will play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory and outcome of the trial proceedings.

Potential appeals

Fox News

The legal developments in this case are likely to influence the nature of the trial, potential appeals, and the broader discourse surrounding the intersection of constitutional rights and criminal allegations.

Public perceptions


The election interference case against Donald Trump holds broader implications for the political landscape, shaping public perceptions of the former president and the legal challenges he faces.



The case has the potential to impact public discourse, electoral dynamics, and the ongoing scrutiny of the events surrounding the 2020 election, contributing to the evolving narrative around the intersection of law, politics, and constitutional rights.

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1 Comment

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