Judge dismisses several counts in Trump's Georgia case over 'fatal' errors

 March 14, 2024

The judge in Donald Trump's Georgia criminal case dismissed some of the charges brought by embattled prosecutor Fani Willis, citing "fatal" errors in the indictment. 

The decision from Judge Scott McAfee deals a serious blow to the case, which has already been jeopardized by Willis' highly publicized affair with another prosecutor. McAfee is expected to decide on whether Willis is disqualified this week.

In the meantime, his move to dismiss some of the charges raises more doubts about the integrity of the sweeping indictment.

Trump has counts tossed

Willis charged Trump and 18 others with racketeering charges in August, accusing them of a vast conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.

The prosecution was widely noted for its ambitious scope compared to other criminal cases brought against Trump.

The judge found that six of the counts Willis brought were too broad to be charged, including three counts against Trump. The charges accuse Trump and his co-defendants of soliciting officials in Georgia to violate their oath.

McAfee criticized the indictment's references to the U.S. Constitution and the Georgia Constitution as so "generic" that the defendants could have violated the law in "dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways."

"On its own, the United States Constitution contains hundreds of clauses, any one of which can be the subject of a lifetime’s study," he wrote, further noting that Georgia's Constitution is not a "mere shadow" of its federal counterpart.

The 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."

McAfee called the lack of detail "fatal" as it leaves Trump and his co-defendants without any way to prepare their defense.

Willis facing disqualification

Trump lawyer Steve Sadow praised the decision, saying, "The ruling is a correct application of the law, as the prosecution failed to make specific allegations of any alleged wrongdoing on those counts."

McAfee said Willis could file the charges again with corrections.

The dismissal of the charges seems to undercut efforts to separate the case from Willis and her indiscretions. Some of Trump's critics say the facts are sound, despite Willis' admitted affair with a prosecutor who receive a lucrative salary for his work.

McAfee has said he will make a decision by Friday on whether Willis should be dropped from the case.

Even if Willis is not disqualified, her incompetence and poor judgment have likely damaged the case beyond repair.

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