Judge in Trump's Georgia case quashes certain charges The judge overseeing the Georgia racketeering case against Donald Trump and his allies has quashed a number of charges related to soliciting officials to violate their oaths of office.

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Judge in Georgia election interference case quashes some charges against Trump

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A judge in Georgia is dropping some of the charges facing former President Trump and his allies in the election interference case. The judge says six of the counts from the original indictment should be quashed. Now, Trump still faces 10 felony charges. WABE's Sam Gringlas is following developments from Atlanta. Hey, Sam.

SAM GRINGLAS, BYLINE: Hey, Mary Louise.

KELLY: OK, so just to remind, this is a sweeping racketeering case. There are a lot of alleged crimes tied to attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Tell me, what are the counts that the judge says should not stand?

GRINGLAS: So all six of these counts in question have to do with soliciting public officials to violate their oaths, like when Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, pressured state lawmakers to help overturn the election, or when Trump called Georgia's secretary of state and asked him to find votes. Now, Judge Scott McAfee said he doesn't doubt that crimes may have been committed here. What he's saying is that prosecutors failed to specify how what Trump and his allies were asking these officials to do would have violated their oaths. And without those specifics, McAfee said, the defendants wouldn't be able to mount their defense.

KELLY: So, I mean, is that it? Is this final? Those counts just go away?

GRINGLAS: Well, prosecutors can appeal. But when I called up Georgia State law professor Anthony Michael Kreis, he said what's more likely is that they just go back to a grand jury for another indictment.

ANTHONY MICHAEL KREIS: She really just has to button up the constitutional theory that says this is why, if Donald Trump got his way, the individuals who he was discussing overturning the election with would have violated their oath to uphold the constitutions of the United States and of Georgia.

GRINGLAS: So if the secretary of state went along with Trump, would he have violated the Georgia Constitution's guaranteed right to vote or the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause?

KELLY: OK. And again, there's still, I think, 35 other crimes that are still up for prosecution. So how likely is it for prosecutors to try to resurrect these ones that have been thrown out, or are they more likely just to let them go?

GRINGLAS: Well, as one former prosecutor noted to me today, going back to a grand jury is a relatively easy fix. But with so many other charges still on the books here, he said he might have just moved on if this was his case. Professor Kreis, though, points out one reason DA Fani Willis might want to fight for these six counts.

KREIS: I think Fani Willis is really trying to tap into a theme that what Donald Trump and his allies were allegedly trying to do here in Georgia was upend the constitutional order and violate the heart of our democracy. And so these charges spoke to that in a way that some of these other ones don't. And so I think she'll probably be loath to let this go.

GRINGLAS: Either way, the underlying acts, the phone call, the legislative testimony, they don't just disappear. All can still be used to support perhaps the central charge in this case, and that is racketeering.

KELLY: Sam, speaking of Fani Willis, the district attorney, the judge has also got that on his plate this week. We're waiting to hear whether Fani Willis may be removed from this case entirely.

GRINGLAS: That's right. Judge McAfee is expected to rule, really, any day now on whether Willis' romantic relationship with a special prosecutor she hired for the case created a disqualifying conflict of interest. But, Mary Louise, it's looking doubtful anyways whether this case gets to trial this year, given delays in that federal case also focused on Trump's efforts to undermine the 2020 election.

KELLY: Thank you, Sam.

GRINGLAS: Thanks, Mary Louise.

KELLY: WABE's Sam Gringlas in Atlanta.

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