Judge in Trump RICO case grants defense a victory by dismissing 6 counts due to insufficient information provided by prosecutors

Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee is seen presiding in court on Friday, March 1, 2024, in Atlanta. The photograph captures the seriousness of the moment as Judge McAfee carries out his duties. Inset into the image is a separate photograph of Donald Trump, taken during his speech at a Get Out The Vote rally at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., on Saturday, February 10, 2024. The photograph showcases Trump’s charisma and passion as he addresses the crowd. Both images offer a glimpse into significant events and personalities in the political and legal arenas.

The judge in Georgia who is presiding over the racketeering (RICO) and election interference case against Donald Trump dismissed six counts from the indictment on Wednesday. This decision was made due to the absence of relevant details in those counts.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has issued a ruling in response to special demurrers, which runs for nine pages. The ruling grants limited relief not only to the 45th president but also to co-defendants Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Ray Smith, and Robert Cheeley.

Most of the co-defendants still face several counts, except for Meadows, who now only faces one count. The court quashed counts two, five, six, 23, 28, and 38 of the 41-count indictment, reducing the charges against the defendants.

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According to a footnote in the court’s explanation, even if the statute of limitations has expired, the state in Georgia can still re-file charges within a six-month grace period.

The court found that each of the counts regarding the defendants’ alleged solicitation of elected officials in Georgia had a similar structure. These counts accused the defendants of urging state representatives, state senators, and the secretary of state to breach their oaths of office.

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According to prosecutors, the incidents in question took place during specific dates in late 2020 and early 2021. However, the court noted that the issue with the indictment on the six counts was not the specific details of the defendants’ alleged actions.

According to McAfee’s order, the court is not concerned about the State’s failure to allege sufficient conduct by the Defendants. In fact, the State has alleged plenty of conduct. However, the lack of detail regarding an essential legal element is considered fatal in the court’s opinion.

To clarify, the dismissed counts merely consist of unsubstantiated claims that the defendants requested elected officials to breach their oaths. It is important to note that the oaths in question, which are based on the U.S. and Georgia Constitutions, cover a wide range of responsibilities.

According to McAfee, the indictment contains such generic references that it compels the court to grant dismissal.

The opinion states that the United States Constitution is a vast document with numerous clauses, each of which could be the focus of extensive research. Experts in academia and law dedicate their entire careers to studying and specializing in a single amendment.

According to the court, the issue becomes more complex due to the additional complexities presented by the Georgia Constitution. Although it contains some similar language, it has been interpreted to have significantly different meanings.

Simply put, the six dismissed counts lacked sufficient details regarding the nature of the underlying offense.

The court’s order states that the Defendants were not provided with sufficient information to prepare their defenses effectively. It is possible that the Defendants could have violated the Constitutions and the statute in numerous distinct ways.

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The defendants, however, also filed a motion to dismiss the overt acts associated with the six dismissed counts. It is worth noting that these overt acts, which are a key aspect of RICO law, are integral to the overall RICO conspiracy alleged in the first count of the indictment.

McAfee refused to dismiss those overt acts, stating that lower pleading standards apply to the alleged RICO conspiracy.

This legal situation appears to be quite odd in practical terms.

Trump and Meadows are no longer being charged with any specific criminal offenses related to the controversial phone call. During the call, Trump had requested Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes” in an attempt to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Although the phone call itself may not be enough to warrant criminal charges, it can still be used to support the argument of a broader conspiracy to undermine the election results.

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