Donald Trump

Trump Loses In Georgia As Judge Rejects First Amendment Claims

Trump and his Georgia co-defendants tried to get the RICO charges dismissed on First Amendment grounds, but Judge Scott McAfee rejected their claims.

Judge McAfee ruled:

Further, the statutes do not facially violate the Defendants’ freedom of association. Our Supreme Court has upheld legislation impacting the right of association after “[b]alancing governmental interest in protecting the integrity of the democratic process and to insure fair elections against an individual’s fundamental rights[.]” Fortson v. Weeks, 232 Ga. 472, 479-82 10 Documents “shall include, but shall not be limited to, liens, encumbrances, documents of title,
instruments relating to a security interest in or title to real or personal property, or other records, statements, or representations of fact, law, right, or opinion.” O.C.G.A. § 16-10-20.1(a). 23SC188947 (1974) (laws governing campaign contribution disclosures did not violate the freedom of speech nor “fundamental political rights of the people”); see also United States v. Harriss, 347 U.S. 612, 626 (1954) (while Lobbying Act at issue might result in some deterrent effect to exercising First Amendment rights, “[t]he hazard of such restraint is too remote to require striking down a statute which on its face is otherwise plainly within the area of congressional power and is designed to safeguard a vital national interest”).

Compared to legislation concerning campaign contribution disclosures and lobbying, the statutes at hand only incidentally touch — assuming they do so at all — the Defendants’ association rights. Thus, while the State retains its interest preserving the integrity of the presidential electoral process, the risk that doing so will override any implicated
rights to association is legally immaterial.

Without foreclosing the ability to raise similar as-applied challenges at the appropriate time after the establishment of a factual record, the Defendants’ motions based on First Amendment grounds are denied.

Judge McAfee ruled that Defendant Trump and his other RICO co-defendants are not having their First Amendment rights infringed upon by being charged with engaging in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

The First Amendment claim is largely based on Trump’s belief that as a presidential candidate and a former president, he is above the law and has the abillity to do and say whatever he wants.  The judge rejected the idea that people who are alleged to have committed crimes have their freedom of association interfered with by being charged with those crimes.

The Trump Georgia defendants are throwing everything against the wall and hoping something sticks, but so far, they’ve come up empty.

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Jason Easley

Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements. Awards and  Professional Memberships Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association

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