Judge Tosses Six Counts In Trump’s Georgia RICO Case

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 27, 2024 in Atlanta,... ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides during a hearing in the case of the State of Georgia v. Donald John Trump at the Fulton County Courthouse on February 27, 2024 in Atlanta, Georgia. Witness and attorney Terrence Bradley testified as Judge McAfee considered an effort by lawyers for former President Donald Trump to disqualify Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over her romantic relationship with prosecutor Nathan Wade, who had been Bradley's law partner. (Photo by Brynn Anderson-Pool/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Donald Trump and some of his co-defendants scored a win on Wednesday when a Fulton County judge dismissed six counts in the Georgia RICO case.

In an order, state Judge Scott McAfee dismissed counts brought under Georgia’s solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer statute.

Prosecutors with Fulton County DA Fani Willis’ office will be able to refile the charges that McAfee dismissed. In striking down the six counts, McAfee also handed prosecutors a limited victory: he upheld several overt acts that the DA’s office included as part of its RICO conspiracy charge against Trump.

Nevertheless, the ruling is a blow for prosecutors. The Fulton County DA’s office brought the furthest-reaching attempt to hold Trump and those around him accountable for the effort to stay in power after losing the 2020 election, treating the sprawling scheme as a conspiracy aimed at coercing state officials and others into violating their oath office and handing the state of Georgia over to Trump.

Now, McAfee found that a key part of that story — Trump asking state officials to violate their oath of office — lacked enough detail in the indictment to justify the charges. In particular, McAfee ruled that prosecutors failed to specify what part of the federal constitutional oath and Georgia constitutional oaths Trump was supposed to have been asking officials to violate.

“The Defendants could have violated the Constitutions and thus the statute in dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways,” McAfee wrote.

Willis’ position overseeing the prosecution is in severe jeopardy at the moment. Trump defendant Mike Roman moved to disqualify Willis in January, alleging that she was improperly benefitting from the prosecution after she took lavish vacations with an attorney she hired to prosecute the case. That led to a damaging, multi-day hearing on Willis’ relationship with the attorney. The proceeding examined whether she reaped benefits from his payment for taking the case, and other questions of whether she and the attorney she hired misled the judge as part of their defense.

Judge McAfee is expected to rule on the disqualification motion this week.

The six counts that McAfee dismissed undermine key portions of the indictment, including a charge related to Trump’s infamous January 2021 call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. As a result of that call, Trump was charged with having “unlawfully solicited, requested, and importuned” Raffensperger to violate his oath.

McAfee found that the state failed to specify what part of Raffensperger’s oath or constitutional obligation Trump was asking him to violate. If and when prosecutors refile the charges, they will have to specify what was solicited in violation of the oath.

“This Court finds that the incorporation of the United States and Georgia Constitutions is so generic as to compel” dismissal of the six counts, McAfee wrote. He left an additional 35 counts in place.

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