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Judge Quashes Six Charges in Georgia Election Case Against Trump

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Judge Quashes Six Charges in Georgia Election Case Against Trump

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In a surprise move on Wednesday, a judge in Atlanta quashed six of the charges against former President Donald J. Trump and his allies in the sprawling Georgia election interference case, including one related to a call that Mr. Trump made to pressure Georgia’s secretary of state in early January 2021.

The judge, Scott McAfee of Fulton Superior Court, left intact the rest of the racketeering indictment, which initially included 41 counts.

The ruling was not related to a defense effort to disqualify Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., who is leading the case. A ruling on that matter, which has made headlines for weeks after it was revealed that Ms. Willis had engaged in a romantic relationship with another prosecutor, is expected by the end of the week.

The nine-page ruling on Wednesday took aim at charges asserting that Mr. Trump and other defendants had solicited public officials to break the law. For example, one count charged Mr. Trump with soliciting the Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, to violate his oath of office by, in the judge’s words, “requesting or importuning him to unlawfully decertify the election.”

“These six counts contain all the essential elements of the crimes but fail to allege sufficient detail regarding the nature of their commission,” Judge McAfee wrote in his ruling. “They do not give the Defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently, as the Defendants could have violated the Constitution and thus the statute in dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways.”

Anthony Michael Kreis, a law professor at Georgia State University, said that the ruling does not weaken the state racketeering charge that remains, and that is central to the case. That charge is based on “overt acts” that are detailed in the indictment, and the judge was explicit in stating that Wednesday’s order does not affect these acts.

He said that the prosecution could choose to take the loss on these lesser counts, or appeal the judge’s order, or reintroduce versions of the challenged charges to a grand jury with more specifics.

The judge’s order reduced the number of charges against Mr. Trump, as well as co-defendants Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Mark Meadows, Ray Smith III, and Robert Cheeley.

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