Georgia judge dismisses three criminal counts against Donald Trump

The judge in Donald Trump’s Georgia election subversion trial has dismissed three criminal counts against the former president.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee also dismissed charges against three other co-defendants, while letting the overall case proceed, a court filing showed.

Judge McAffee decided that allegations made by state prosecutors that Mr Trump and his co-defendants tried to get Georgia officials to violate their oaths of office were not detailed enough in those six counts.

The judge allowed another 35 criminal counts to remain, including 10 against the former president.

The central racketeering charge against Mr Trump and his remaining 14 co-defendants also remains in place.

Mr Trump and his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges that they formed a criminal conspiracy to try to overturn the Republican’s loss to Joe Biden in the state of Georgia during the 2020 election.

Judge McAfee said prosecutors could file a new, more detailed indictment on the dismissed counts.

More on Donald Trump

The Georgia case is one of four criminal prosecutions Mr Trump is facing in the run up to November’s election, after he secured enough delegates to become the presumptive Republican candidate on Tuesday.

He also faces federal charges relating to alleged efforts to undo his 2020 defeat and is due to stand trial in New York later this month on charges related to hush money paid to an adult actress.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all four cases and has said they are all attempts to stop him from regaining the presidency.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Trump and Biden set for rematch

Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead lawyer in the Georgia case, said prosecutors “failed to make specific allegations of any alleged wrongdoing” in the counts that were dismissed.

“The entire prosecution of President Trump is political, constitutes election interference, and should be dismissed,” Mr Sadow said in a statement.

A spokesperson for the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who brought the case, said prosecutors are
reviewing the ruling.

Lawyers for Mr Trump and his allies, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani, challenged allegations they attempted to get Georgia politicians to violate their oaths of office by convincing them to appoint fraudulent slates of pro-Trump electors.

Read more:
How does the US election work?
How this year’s US election will shape the world
All you need to know about Trump’s legal cases

Two of the six charges Judge McAfee dismissed relate to a January 2021 phone call when Mr Trump pressed Georgia’s top election official, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” votes to reverse his defeat.

The judge found that the indictment did not specify in sufficient detail how the then president and his co-defendants could have urged officials to violate their oaths of office or their duties under the constitutions of Georgia or the US.

“They do not give the defendants enough information to prepare their defences intelligently, as the defendants could have violated the constitutions and thus the statute in dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways,” he wrote in his ruling.

Judge McAfee’s ruling came as he prepares to issue a highly anticipated decision on whether Ms Willis, the prosecutor overseeing the case, should be disqualified over a romantic relationship with a lawyer she hired to run the prosecution.

Mr Trump’s team argues that Ms Willis benefited financially from the relationship and may have lied to the court, allegations Willis denies.