Judge declines to revoke bond of Trump Georgia co-defendant

Judge declines to revoke bond of Trump Georgia co-defendant

A Georgia judge declined to revoke the bond of one of former President Trump’s co-defendants in his 2020 election subversion case Tuesday, allowing him to remain free on bond ahead of a future trial.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee determined Tuesday that the bond agreement for Harrison Floyd, a former leader of Black Voices for Trump, must be updated to reflect the “nuances of social media.” However, McAfee said he believed that Floyd did make a “technical violation” of his bond.

“I think the ultimate result of today’s hearing is that it’s very clear to me that this bond needs to be modified,” McAfee said.

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McAfee approved a more detailed bond agreement provided by the state at the end of the hearing, though he said he would be open to modifying it again in the future after prosecutors and Floyd’s counsel have had more time to examine its specifics.

Floyd was the first defendant threatened with pretrial detention over social media posts that prosecutors say demonstrate attempts at intimidating future witnesses and communicating “directly and indirectly” with co-defendants in the case.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) herself argued the state’s case to put Floyd in jail before trial, the first time she has done so in any hearing since handing up charges against Trump and 18 others.

Her appearance Tuesday underscored what already appeared to be a particularly contentious relationship between Willis and Floyd.

In August, Floyd was the only defendant to surrender without negotiating a bond agreement in advance. He was detained for multiple days, and blamed it on Willis.

In recent days, prosecutors seemed to insinuate that Floyd’s team leaked proffer videos of co-defendants who pleaded guilty being interviewed by prosecutors. Another defendant’s lawyer later admitted to leaking the videos.

Willis’s attempt to revoke Floyd’s bond was filed hours later, alleging his social media posts violated his conditions of release.

“What we’re really here to decide today is, does this order mean something or not,” Willis said, asserting that Floyd “spit on the court” by posting about witnesses and co-defendants online.

Floyd’s attorneys claimed state prosecutors were seeking to silence Floyd’s lawful political speech. The Trump co-defendant was present at Tuesday’s hearing, donning a kelly green suit jacket.

“None of these posts amounted to a threat or intimidation,” said Chris Kachouroff, one of Floyd’s attorneys.

His lawyers also argued that tagging people involved in the case on social media was Floyd’s way of “referring” to them, not “communicating” with them. Willis emphasized the clause in Floyd’s pretrial release agreement prohibiting him from “indirectly” communicating with co-defendants or future witnesses, suggesting that tagging witnesses on social media qualifies as such behavior.

Known state witnesses — including Fulton County poll worker Ruby Freeman, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Gabe Sterling, chief operating officer of the Secretary of State’s office — were mentioned numerous times on Floyd’s account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“Look, the truth is that @GaSecofState & @GabrielSterling are the pieces of [shit] you should be mad at,” Floyd tweeted Nov. 7, using a poop emoji to replace the expletive.

Sterling briefly testified Tuesday afternoon as a state witness, and Willis asked him whether he enjoys being called “a piece of fecal matter.”

“No, ma’am,” Sterling replied.

Willis also presented a text message from Jenna Ellis — a co-defendant in the case who recently pleaded guilty to lesser charges as part of a plea agreement with the state — where Ellis said Floyd’s posts about her were meant to “both intimidate and harass me and also encourage others to harass me.”

Michael Hill, an investigator in Willis’s office who has worked on the case, and Von DuBose, an attorney representing Freeman, also testified during the hearing.

Floyd’s charges stem from his alleged efforts to convince Freeman to make false statements about 2020 election operations, under the guise of offering her help. He has pleaded not guilty.

In Willis’s motion to revoke Floyd’s bond, she said the Trump co-defendant’s “intimidating communications” have caused Freeman to be subject to “renewed threats of violence” from third parties.

DuBose testified that Freeman and her daughter — Shaye Moss, another Fulton County poll worker — employ a third-party vendor to monitor potential threats against them online. A spike in online activity followed Floyd’s posts about Freeman, causing her counsel to take “precautions” to protect her, because spikes are usually followed by threats, DuBose said.

“There are real consequences for allowing defendants to intimidate witnesses,” Willis told the judge.

Floyd, who was generally posting on X multiple times per day, continued to do so immediately after prosecutors filed their motion to revoke Floyd’s bond last Wednesday, but he has not posted since Friday.

Updated 6:05 p.m.

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