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Trump's Lawyers Argue Charges Criminalize Political Speech In Georgia Case

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, March 9, 2024, in Rome Ga. Lawyers for former President Donald Trump argued in a court filing that th

Former President Donald Trump's legal team is challenging the charges brought against him in the Georgia election interference case, arguing that they seek to criminalize political speech protected by the First Amendment. The case, which also involves former Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer, is set for a hearing before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.

The indictment, obtained by District Attorney Fani Willis in August, accuses Trump and 18 others of participating in a scheme to illegally overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. The charges include violating Georgia's anti-racketeering law and other alleged crimes. While four individuals have pleaded guilty, Trump and the remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Trump's lawyers contend that the charges against him involve various actions, including submitting Republican elector certificates, requesting a special legislative session, filing in a lawsuit, engaging in a phone call with Georgia's Secretary of State, and sending a letter. They argue that these actions are protected political speech under the First Amendment.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, maintain that the indictment is based on criminal acts, not speech. They assert that the alleged conduct involves fraud, perjury, threats, criminal solicitation, and deception harmful to the government.

David Shafer, one of the defendants, faces charges related to organizing Georgia Republicans to cast Electoral College votes for Trump despite the state's certification of Biden's victory. His lawyers argue that Shafer's actions were lawful at the time and aimed at complying with legal advice and the Electoral Count Act.

Despite facing setbacks, including the dismissal of some counts in the indictment, Willis and her team are moving forward with the prosecution. McAfee, while critical of Willis' actions, did not grant defense requests to remove her from the case but required her lead prosecutor to step aside.

The legal battle surrounding the Georgia election interference case continues as both sides present their arguments before the court.

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