Judge Makes Game-Changing Decision In Trump Case

OPINION:  This article contains commentary which may reflect the author’s opinion

A hearing to determine whether to dismiss former President Donald Trump’s Fulton County case on the basis of free speech was scheduled for Monday by a Georgian court.

Judge Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior Court scheduled the hearing for March 28. Trump and a few other defendants in the case—brought by District Attorney Fani Willis—are anticipated to present their applications to the court.

Similar free speech defenses have already been rejected by McAfee from former co-defendants Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, who have both already entered guilty pleas.

“According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Trump would have to admit that his claims about the 2020 election being rigged were false to pursue a First Amendment defense,” Raw Story reported.

Here, the indictment’s recitation of allegedly “false” statements and facts, uncontested solely for purposes of a First Amendment-based general demurrer/motion to dismiss, show that the prosecution of President Trump is predicated on content-based core political speech and expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment, according to a court filing from Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow.

Sadow went on to say that “speech that is true… not a state (racketeering) prosecution against the former president of the United States” is the appropriate response to incorrect speech.

Last weekend, Willis made headlines once more when she discussed the prosecution of Trump and his 14 co-defendants and said a “train is coming.”

Due to her romantic relationship with her former lead prosecutor, Willis was on the verge of being disqualified from the previous president’s election subversion case. However, she has since stated that she continued working on the case during the two months of related court action and that the attempt to disqualify her did not impede her progress.

“While that was going on, we were writing responsive briefs, we were still doing the case in a way that it needed to be done. I don’t feel like we’ve been slowed down at all. I do think there are efforts to slow down this train, but the train is coming,” Willis said Saturday at an Atlanta-area Easter event.

“We’re not going to miss or skip a beat because of all the noise or distraction on one case. We’re going to continue to do our work,” she added.

The district attorney told CNN that she doesn’t think she has to earn back the trust of the people in Fulton County.

“I’m not embarrassed by anything I’ve done. I guess my greatest crime is I had a relationship with a man, but that’s not something I find embarrassing in any way. And I know that I have not done anything that’s illegal,” Willis told the outlet.

“I am not a perfect human being, but what I am is a hard-working human being, and a human being that loves the community I serve and who understands this seat does not belong to me, it belongs to the people,” Willis later added, telling CNN she feels “more loved” by the community following the intense scrutiny over her relationship with ex-special prosecutor Nathan Wade. “And as long as I’m here, I’m going to try to do the job in a way that’s honorable.”

Atlanta defense attorney Andrew Fleischman told Salon that Willis “should not” be making those comments.

“Prosecutors announcing at the outset of a case who they’re indicting, the charges being brought and why is fine, but they should not make public statements that have no legitimate law enforcement purpose even in the context of a political campaign,” Fleischman said.

“They strengthen arguments for gag orders and disqualification, and they harm the public’s trust that this trial is about holding people accountable for crimes they have committed, rather than as part of an overall political strategy,” Fleischman added.

Georgia State University law professor Clark Cunningham made similar comments, telling Salon that Willis’ comments to CNN sounded like “campaign remarks” that “were really addressed to an audience of voters for the upcoming primary and general election.”

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