Fulton DA’s office files its own appeal in Trump Georgia election case

The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office on Thursday said it is appealing a judge’s order that dismissed six counts from the election interference indictment against former President Donald Trump and others.

In a filing to the Georgia Court of Appeals, the DA’s office challenged an order issued in March by Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who dismissed counts lodged against Trump, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, lawyer John Eastman, former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorneys Ray Smith and Bob Cheeley. In his nine-page decision, McAfee said those charges lacked sufficient detail.

Under Georgia law, the DA’s office is permitted to bring this challenge — called a cross appeal — because Trump and other defendants are appealing another decision by McAfee. That ruling allowed DA Fani Willis to remain on the racketeering case so long as her former romantic partner, then-special prosecutor Nathan Wade, resigned. By submitting its notice on Thursday, the DA’s office met the filing deadline to pursue the cross appeal, said Atlanta defense lawyer Andrew Fleischman, who is closely following the case.

District Attorney Fani Willis (center), nest to Nathan Wade, a special prosecutor, reacts to proceedings at Fulton County Superior Court on Thursday, July 21, 2022.  State Sen. Burt Jones filed a motion to remove Willis from the Fulton County Trump investigation because she held a fundraiser for Jones’ Democratic opponent Charlie Bailey. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Even though McAfee dismissed six counts from the 41-count indictment, dozens still remain, including the racketeering conspiracy charges against Trump and his remaining 14 co-defendants.

The six charges McAfee dismissed relate to allegations that defendants illegally urged Georgia elected officials — including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, then-House Speaker David Ralston and members of the General Assembly — to violate their oaths of office by convening a special session of the Legislature to appoint pro-Trump electors. As written in the indictment, those counts “do not give the defendants enough information to prepare their defenses intelligently,” the judge said.

The recent decision by the Court of Appeals to hear the Willis disqualification challenge is all but certain to delay the election interference case against Trump from going to trial before the November presidential election. Once the case files are transferred from Fulton County to the appeals court, it will be officially docketed with a three-judge panel assigned to hear it. They could possibly hear arguments later this year and could wait to release their opinion sometime early next year.