Trump's Georgia Election Case: Brief argues state court can't rule on federal matters

Former President Donald Trump's legal team, Steve Sadow and Jennifer Little, have filed a supplemental brief supporting the dismissal of two counts against him in the Georgia election interference case.

According to the brief, the state of Georgia cannot punish someone for committing a crime in a federal judiciary, like lying under oath, because that falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government, not the state.

Count 15 alleges a conspiracy to fine, and count 27 alleges the filing of false documents in an exclusive federal tribunal, the United States District Court for the Northern District, not in a public record or court of the State of Georgia.

The brief cites the case of In re Loney, 134 U.S. 372 (1890) in its argument.


Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower on April 03, 2023 in New York City.  (Gotham/GC Images)

In simple terms, the court ruled in that case that the charges contravened federal law, not state law. So, even though state law might seem to allow for prosecution in state court, it cannot be enforced because only the federal government has the power to do so. Therefore, the charges related to those actions must be dropped.

The brief also cites another case from the 1800s -- Ross v. State, 55 Ga. 192 (1875). In that case, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the offense contained in the document was an offense against the public justice of the United States, not just against the state of Georgia.

A more recent case from 2008 was also used to bolster Trump's argument. In People v. Hassan, 86 Cal.Rptr. 314, 323-24 (2008), the state of California was prohibited from prosecution in a case related to false documents provided in connection with a federal immigration investigation.

The brief was filed on April 24.

Trump's legal team says they have no comment on the brief.

Tump and 18 others were indicted in August 2023 of interfering in the 2020 Georgia presidential election. Four of Trump's codefendants have entered guilty pleas and made deals with the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. Some of the charges against Trump and the others have already been dropped

Fulton County's DA Fani Willis was hoping to bring Trump and the remaining defendants to trial in August of this year. However, it appears the trial has been delayed because of the controversy that was created by Willis' relationship with her former special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, and because of the numerous motions that have been filed in connection to the case. At this time, it is not known when Trump might go on trial in Georgia. 


The former president is currently on trial in New York City for allegedly falsifying business documents in connection to payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels.