The judge in Fulton County’s election racketeering case declined Tuesday to send one of Donald Trump’s co-defendants to prison over recent social media posts and other comments he made targeting witnesses.
Judge Scott McAfee said that while the defendant, Harrison Floyd, committed “technical violations” of his bond agreement, “not all violations result in revocation.”
Fulton County prosecutors asked Judge Scott McAfee to revoke Harrison Floyd’s bond, arguing he violated the terms of the deal meant to keep him out of jail because of his alleged “attempts to intimidate co-defendants and witnesses.
Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis personally entered the case Tuesday, the first time she has appeared in court for a pretrial hearing in the sprawling election subversion racketeering case.
“What we’re really here to decide today is whether this order means anything or not. He’s not getting ‘oh, I’m sorry’ after he’s already intimidated the witnesses in this case,” Willis said. “It’s too late.”
Had McAfee acceded to prosecutors’ demands, Floyd would have been the first defendant to be jailed for his actions related to the case — a move that would have sent a strong message to other defendants that prosecutors are closely monitoring their public maneuverings in the context of the criminal case. takes place.
“He had the opportunity to cooperate with the rules of this case and what he actually did was spit on the court and refuse to obey three of the seven conditions of this bail order.” , Willis said.
But it wouldn’t be the first time Floyd, who has pleaded not guilty to three state crimes, has been behind bars after being charged earlier this year. The only defendant to spend time in jail in connection with the case, Floyd was incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail for a week in August before reaching a bail deal with prosecutors.
The crimes Floyd faces in this case are largely linked to his role in an intimidation campaign targeting two Atlanta election workers in late 2020. Trump and his allies falsely accused the workers of massive election fraud.
The leader of Black Voices for Trump, Floyd was separately charged in May with simple assault against a federal officer who was serving him a subpoena to testify before a grand jury in Washington, DC. He did not plead guilty in the case.
On Monday, Floyd’s lawyers sharply opposed prosecutors’ attempt to jail him, telling McAfee they were doing so in retaliation after he rejected a plea deal offer. They also draw comparisons to Trump’s public comments about the case, suggesting that prosecutors’ decision not to prosecute Trump was evidence of a double standard.
“A review of President Trump’s social media posts makes it difficult to justify the State’s decision to go after Harrison Floyd,” Floyd’s lawyers wrote, citing several posts by Trump about Sidney Powell, a lawyer who recently pleaded guilty in this case, as well as Mark. Meadows, his former chief of staff and current co-defendant.
“None of these messages constitute a threat or intimidation,” Floyd’s lawyer, Chris Kachouroff, said Tuesday of his client’s messages, noting that none of the witnesses presented in court had contacted authorities at about the case.
“We have to give Floyd the benefit of the doubt,” Kachouroff added later. “Did he come close to the line?” Yes.”
In their request last week, Fulton County prosecutors highlighted Floyd’s recent social media posts regarding Georgia election officials who are likely to be called as witnesses in the case, as well as his recent comments on a conservative podcast about Jenna Ellis, who pleaded guilty and accepted. cooperate.
“The defendant’s actions demonstrate that he poses a significant threat to intimidate witnesses and obstruct the administration of justice in the future, making him ineligible for bail,” they wrote in the court file.
In a recent post, Floyd questions why his team was accused of leaking videos of conversations between another defendant and prosecutors, invoking Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, who is a witness in the case.
“Why would my team leak Jenna Ellis and suggest videos when there are better things out there? For example, Ruby Freeman’s job was to reconcile ballots,” he wrote. “She wasn’t even supposed to be on a scanner!!!!!”
Poop Emojis and Potential Threats
Fulton County Deputy Chief Investigator Michael Hill testified about Floyd’s recent social media posts on X about the case, with witnesses reading each post aloud, sometimes taking care to translate internet language to respect courtroom decorum.
“The content reads: ‘Black American Democrats want the ‘Black Trump Guy’ to denounce ‘Racist White Republicans,’ but only if it’s President Trump? Lol, look, the truth is that @GASecofState and @GabrielSterling are the pieces of’ – and it’s a…” Hill read, before Willis interjected.
“Emoji – can you just spell that word instead of putting profanities in the record,” she said.
“Yes ma’am. It’s a poop or feces emoji,” Hill said. “Those are the bits of — that emoji — that you should be angry at.”
Later in the hearing, Willis called Gabriel Sterling, a state elections official who said that while it’s common for people to tag him in posts about of importance to the public comments addressed to it.
“It’s normal when you’re a public figure,” Sterling told Floyd’s lawyer when asked if his client’s messages were “threatening and intimidating” to him.
Prosecution witness Von DuBose, who represents Ruby Freeman, a witness in the racketeering case, said social media posts about her client led her to take certain precautions, including moving out of her home.
He said Floyd’s posts about Freeman led to a “spike” in online activity targeting Freeman.
“This is the beginning of potential threats,” he said, adding that their concerns led them to take more safety precautions for Freeman.
This story has been updated with additional developments.
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