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Reactions of Georgia politicians to the historic conviction of Donald Trump in New York

ATLANTA, Georgia (Atlanta News First) – Donald Trump's guilty verdict on all 34 counts in his historic hush money trial in New York City sparked immediate reactions across Georgia's political spectrum.

Late Thursday afternoon, Trump became the first former US president in history to be found guilty. Trump was found guilty on 34 counts of falsifying his company's business records in an attempt to cover up potentially embarrassing stories about him during his 2016 Republican presidential campaign.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who has openly criticized Trump in the past, said on X (formerly known as Twitter): “From the beginning, this impeachment and trial have been driven by partisan political motives. Despite today's events, the final judgment will rest with the American people on November 5th, when they can make a clear decision about the future of our country.”

“The left-wing media, a politically motivated judge and Biden's gun-toting Justice Department went after Donald Trump to win an election,” Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, whose support for Trump helped him become the 13th lieutenant governor in 2022, said on social media. “This was clearly a miscarriage of justice and election interference that will be overturned on appeal. We stand with President Trump in this fight for our country!”

“Today's outcome was predetermined by a partisan judge and prosecutor who have severely damaged public trust in our criminal justice system, perhaps irreparably,” said Josh McKoon, chairman of the Georgia Republican Party. “Republicans should not have to fear being in jurisdictions that elect Democrats who will impeach them for the crime of being Republican, but that is exactly what happened today.”

US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an outspoken Trump supporter who represents the 14th District in northwest Georgia in Congress, simply tweeted an image of an upside-down American flag:

Michael Tyler, communications director for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' re-election campaign, said: “In New York today, we saw that no one is above the law.

“Donald Trump has always mistakenly believed he would never face consequences for breaking the law for his personal gain,” Tyler said. “But today's ruling does not change the fact that the American people face a simple reality. There is still only one way to keep Donald Trump out of the Oval Office: at the ballot box. Convicted felon or not, Trump will be the Republican nominee for president.”

Republican U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, who represents the 8th District in south-central Georgia, posted on X (formerly known as Twitter): “This ruling is the result of a political witch hunt in a corrupt, weaponized left-wing court that believed the words of a convicted perjurer. Make no mistake – they don't just hate Trump; they hate America.”

Former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, a Democrat turned Republican, said on social media: “I want us all [Trump] Supporters should stay calm. Let's not burn down buildings, attack the police and kill innocent people. Trump will be elected president!”

Another Republican congressman from southern Georgia, U.S. Representative Buddy Carter of the 1st Congressional District, said: “The verdict in President Trump's trial in New York is the result of a baseless trial with trumped-up charges. The Democrats have completely weaponized our justice system.”

“No one is above the law, and today's ruling, while long in coming, does not change our mission in 2024 to reelect President Biden to continue his work investing in Georgia, creating jobs and increasing opportunity for all,” said U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams of Atlanta's 5th District, who also leads the Georgia Democratic Party. “Whether convicted felon or not, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for president, and the people of Georgia cannot afford to have our freedoms stripped away by a crazed and even more dangerous candidate in a second term.”

In August 2023, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis filed charges against Trump and 17 of his Republican allies, accusing them of participating in an organized crime conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Four of the original 18 defendants have already reached a settlement with Willis' office.

But in early January, a series of explosive allegations emerged when Michael Roman, one of Trump's co-defendants, and Ashleigh Merchant, Roman's lawyer, accused Willis and then-special counsel Nathan Wade of an inappropriate relationship. Both Willis and Wade have since admitted to a romantic relationship.

The allegations that Willis had unfairly profited from her romance with Wade brought the case to a standstill for weeks. In mid-February, intimate details of Willis' and Wade's private lives came to light in court.

In March, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee – who has taken over the case – rejected the defense's efforts to dismiss Willis and her office because of her romantic relationship with Wade. But he granted the defendants permission to appeal his decision to the Court of Appeals. In his ruling, McAfee wrote that Willis must remove Wade from the organized crime charge if she wants to stay in the case.

Just hours after this verdict, Wade resigned.

On April 1, Trump and several of his remaining co-defendants formally filed an appeal of McAfee's decision allowing Willis to take over the case. This appeal came after McAfee gave the green light for such an appeal of his decision. The appeal was signed by all of the attorneys representing the remaining co-defendants who have not yet settled the case in Fulton County Superior Court.

The Georgia Court of Appeals' docket for case number A24I0160, also known as DONALD JOHN TRUMP ET AL V. THE STATE, states that the appeal will be heard during the court's August 2024 session. According to the court's website, all cases scheduled for that session must be decided by March 14, 2025.

The August session ends on November 18, 2024. The court's hearing calendar for August, September and October does not yet list a date for Trump's appeal.

McAfee has already dismissed six of Willis' counts in the indictment, including three against Trump. However, McAfee's order also left many other counts in the indictment in place, and he wrote that prosecutors could seek a new indictment on the counts he dismissed.

At the end of May, Willis' office appealed these dismissals.

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Anna Harden

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