Judge dismisses some charges against Trump in the Georgia 2020 election interference case

ATLANTA (AP) — The judge overseeing the Georgia 2020 election interference case on Wednesday dismissed some of the charges against former President Donald Trump and others, but many counts in the sweeping racketeering indictment remain intact.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee wrote in an order that six of the counts in the indictment must be quashed, including three against Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee. But he left in place other charges, and he said prosecutors could seek a new indictment on the charges he dismissed.

The ruling is a blow for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, whose case has already been on shaky ground with an effort to have her removed from the prosecution over her romantic relationship with a colleague. It’s the first time charges in any of Trump’s four criminal cases have been dismissed, with the judge saying prosecutors failed to provide enough detail about the alleged crime.

The sprawling indictment charges Trump and more than a dozen other defendants with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. The case uses a statute normally associated with mobsters to accuse the former president, lawyers and other aides of a “criminal enterprise” to keep him in power after he lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Lawyers for Trump did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment Wednesday. A Willis spokesperson also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The six charges in question have to do with soliciting elected officials to violate their oaths of office. That includes two charges related to the phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, on Jan. 2, 2021.

“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Trump said during that call.

The ruling comes as McAfee is considering a bid to have Willis disqualified from the case over what defense attorneys have alleged is a conflict of interest due to her romantic relationship with special prosecutor Nathan Wade. Willis, who has said their relationship ended months ago, has said there is no conflict of interest and no reason to remove her from the case.

The nearly 100−page indictment details dozens of acts by Trump or his allies to undo his defeat, including harassing an election worker who faced false claims of fraud and attempting to persuade Georgia lawmakers to ignore the will of voters and appoint a new slate of Electoral College electors favorable to Trump.

Other defendants include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and a Trump administration Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who aided the then−president’s efforts to undo his election loss in Georgia. They have pleaded not guilty.

McAfee’s order leaves Meadows facing only a RICO charge. Jim Durham, a lawyer for Meadows, declined to comment.

Kate Brumback, The Associated Press

Photo: AP