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Judge Upholds Criminal Indictment Against Former President Donald Trump

Donald Trump looks Confident.

An Atlanta-area judge has upheld the criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump in Georgia, dismissing the argument that his efforts to overturn the 2020 election were protected under the First Amendment. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled that the speech and conduct alleged were not protected political speech.

This ruling marks a significant development in the state racketeering case against Trump and his 14 co-defendants in Georgia. While the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has indicated readiness for trial as early as August, a trial date has not yet been set by the judge.

McAfee's decision to uphold the indictment reflects a trend where free speech defenses have not succeeded in pretrial proceedings related to election interference cases. The court found that the defendants' expressions and speech were allegedly made in furtherance of criminal activity, involving false statements that could deceive and harm the government.

Similar First Amendment challenges in the Georgia case have been previously rejected by McAfee, and in a federal election interference case, Judge Tanya Chutkan also dismissed the argument that Trump's actions should be considered protected political speech.

Trump's Georgia lawyer, Steve Sadow, expressed disagreement with the ruling and stated that they would explore their legal options. Sadow highlighted that the court's ruling indicated that the defendants could raise their challenges at a later stage after establishing a factual record.

During a hearing on the First Amendment issue, Sadow argued that Trump's attempts to challenge the Georgia election results constituted core political speech. The Fulton County district attorney's office declined to comment on McAfee's order.

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