Trump Attorneys Argue To Dismiss Charges in Election Case

Donald Trump | Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump attempted to convince a federal judge on Thursday that the charges against him in his Georgia election interference trial should be dropped because his actions were protected under the First Amendment.

A hearing was held in regard to a filing by the defendant, in which Trump’s team argued that the charges against him should be dropped since the comments he made were protected speech.

This is the first hearing since Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ruled that District Attorney Fani Willis could remain involved with the case. Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade resigned from his role in the case due to his previously undisclosed relationship with Willis, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Steven Sadow, Trump’s attorney, argued during Thursday’s hearing that the comments made by the former president calling the 2020 election into question are protected under the First Amendment, calling the statements “core political speech” that must be protected.

“What do we have here?” he questioned, per CNN. “We have election speech, which is ‘protected’ from government restriction.”

Sadow continued, saying the comments made by the former president should be protected because they helped further public discussion, claiming that the “only reason it becomes unprotected in the State’s opinion is because they call it false.”

“I don’t think there’s any question that statements, comment, speech, expressive conduct that deals with campaigning or elections have always been found to be at the zenith of protected speech,” he said, as reported by ABC News.

Fulton County prosecutor Donald Wakeford refuted the claims made by Trump’s attorneys, saying that the former president has “never been prosecuted for lying” and has instead “been prosecuted for lying to the government.”

“In the end, no matter how much we hear about the noble protections afforded by the First Amendment, all of this is an effort to get Your Honor not to look at the basic fact that this speech, this expression, all this activity, is employed as part of a pattern of criminal conduct,” he said, according to CNN.

The hearing ended after roughly 90 minutes of arguments presented by both sides, and McAfee did not give any clues as to how he plans to rule in this matter, according to The Independent.

McAfee also gave no indication about when the trial would officially begin, if he rules against the defendant’s motion to dismiss the charges.

This hearing was held in regard to an indictment of the former president by an Atlanta-based grand jury in August 2023 due to his connection to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, per CNN.

Trump was indicted alongside 18 co-defendants in this case, four of whom have already reached plea deals with the prosecutors, per The Independent.

The remaining co-defendants have all pleaded not guilty to the charges, with Willis pushing for the trials to begin in August.

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