Supreme Court Ruling Throws Uncertainty into Trump’s Georgia Election Interference Case


The US Supreme Court’s recent ruling on presidential immunity has significant implications for former President Donald Trump’s criminal case in Georgia, potentially complicating the prosecution’s case. The court ruled that a lower court judge must sift through Trump’s federal election interference indictment to determine which acts are official and private, and then decide which of those official acts are absolutely immune from prosecution and which are only presumptively immune.

This process, which legal experts say could evolve into a mini-trial over the next few months, could have a significant impact on Trump’s four criminal charges in Washington and Georgia. The Georgia case, brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, alleges that Trump and 19 co-defendants violated the state’s racketeering laws by attempting to overturn the 2020 election illegally in the state.

The Supreme Court’s decision suggests that Trump’s communication with the Department of Justice is a core function of the presidency and must always be immune from prosecution. Other acts, such as Trump’s communication with state officials or his public statements, could be immune from prosecution, but a lower court judge must decide that under the Supreme Court’s new framework.

In the Georgia case, Judge Scott McAfee has already ruled that Willis was not disqualified from the case, despite Trump’s allegations of a conflict of interest. However, Trump has appealed this decision to the Georgia Court of Appeals, which is now under review. The court is unlikely to address this appeal until the first quarter of 2025, meaning McAfee does not currently have jurisdiction over the case to make decisions about immunity.

Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, a Georgia-based lawyer who specializes in elections, noted that the trial court will likely not have jurisdiction to rule on this motion or to have its own mini-trial prior to the election. This suggests that the case will undergo a similar mini-trial exercise as the one anticipated in Washington.

The Supreme Court’s ruling also raises questions about the impact on Trump’s co-defendants. While it may have zero impact on some, others, such as former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark and former chief of staff Mark Meadows, may see some relief because their actions involving Trump could be protected by presidential immunity.

Anthony Michael Kreis, a Georgia State University law professor, noted that it is unlikely that Clark would be able to face charges in the same case as Trump because evidence against Clark that involves Trump is now protected by immunity and cannot be included in Trump’s case. Kreis said the court’s decision complicates trying Meadows but does not rule it out.

The cases in Washington and in Georgia appear poised to stretch for several months or longer, but if Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, were to win the election, he could attempt to use his pardon power to toss his federal case out.

Ashley Oliver
Ashley Oliver
Ashley Oliver is a Justice Department reporter. She previously covered Congress and campaigns for Breitbart News. Originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, she graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in classics and philosophy before spending six years in Massachusetts working in the real estate industry.

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