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Judge Rejects Trump Attempts To Toss Cases

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On Thursday, Judge Scott McAfee rejected Donald Trump’s attempt to toss the election interference charges under the First Amendment.

According to The Hill, Trump and some of his co-defendants had contended their charges must be tossed because their efforts to contest the 2020 election comprised constitutionally protected “core political speech.” 

“Even core political speech addressing matters of public concern is not impenetrable from prosecution if allegedly used to further criminal activity,” Judge Scott McAfee wrote in the 14-page ruling.

McAfee said only a jury can decide the question of whether the speech at issue was carried out with criminal intent. His ruling leaves open the possibility that Trump could still raise a First Amendment defense down the road, once the factual record is more developed. 

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) last summer indicted Trump and more than a dozen of his allies on charges of entering a months-long criminal conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia. Trump pleaded not guilty, and a trial date has not yet been set. 

Trump and his co-defendants still have various other pending motions seeking to toss their charges without a trial.

Those efforts include Trump’s presidential immunity defense, which is likely to be impacted by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Trump’s near-identical defense to his federal election interference indictment brought in Washington, D.C.

“President Trump and other defendants respectfully disagree with Judge McAfee’s order and will continue to evaluate their options regarding the First Amendment challenges,” Trump attorney Steve Sadow said in a statement, emphasizing how Trump could again raise some of his claims at a later time. 

In the separate classified documents case, Florida Judge Aileen Cannon also refused to throw out the charges against the former President.

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Aileen Cannon comes after special counsel Jack Smith urged her to promptly reject Trump’s claims that the Presidential Records Act (PRA) allowed him to deem the national security records his personal property.

“The Presidential Records Act does not provide a pre-trial basis to dismiss,” Cannon wrote in the three-page ruling.

While the ruling is seemingly a win for Smith, Cannon didn’t rule out Trump’s ability to raise the issue at trial

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