Georgia judge denies bid to send Trump election fraud co-defendant to jail

Harrison Floyd, who pleaded not guilty in August to charges of election interference in Georgia, will not be heading back to jail after a Georgia judge denied a bid Tuesday to revoke his bail over social media posts allegedly targeting witnesses. Photo via Fulton County Sheriff's Office/UPI

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- Harrison Floyd, a co-defendant in the Georgia election fraud case against former President Donald Trump, will not be heading back to jail after a Georgia judge denied a bid Tuesday to revoke his bail over social media posts allegedly targeting witnesses.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said that, while Floyd's posts may have been a "technical violation" of his bond, "not every violation compels revocation."

The judge added that he did not see Floyd's posts as witness intimidation.

"I read these as, seeing these more, that someone is wanting to defend his case in a very public way," McAfee added, before signing off on a modified bond order which will give both sides more time to agree on specific language regarding Floyd's posts.

Floyd, who pleaded not guilty in August to charges of election interference in Georgia, appeared Tuesday in an Atlanta courtroom to answer to new charges that he intimidated witnesses and co-defendants in the case, which had threatened to put him back behind bars.

"He was given an opportunity to cooperate with the rules of this case and what he really did was spit on the court and refuse to oblige by three of the seven conditions of this bond order," Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in response to Tuesday's ruling.

Prosecutors filed the motion Nov. 15, accusing Floyd of "numerous intentional and flagrant violations" which potentially flouted bond conditions that prohibited him from bullying witnesses and limited his communications with the other defendants.

In the filing, the Fulton County District Attorney's office cited numerous social media posts and a podcast interview in which Floyd mentioned other defendants and witnesses, calling it evidence that makes him "ineligible for bond."

The DA also referenced Floyd's communications on the platform X, including posts that mentioned Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and former election officials Gabriel Sterling and Ruby Freeman, whom Floyd is accused of exerting his influence.

"Because of and in response to the defendant's intimidating communications, witness Ruby Freeman has been the subject of renewed threats of violence from third parties," the filing said.

"Obviously, we're very concerned about the safety of Miss Ruby Freeman. She has clearly endured enough. And this conduct is not just chilling to her" but "chilling to other people who would want to serve in her capacity," Willis said Tuesday, after prosecutors called three witnesses including Sterling.

On Monday, Floyd's attorney filed a response with the court to oppose the charges, saying Floyd "certainly did not violate the conditions of his bond order," while also claiming that Floyd's actions while free on bond "cannot be seen as violations."

In his filing, Floyd claimed that Willis had retaliated against him because she didn't initiate the motion to revoke his bond until after he had rejected a plea deal from her office "just weeks ago."

"In exercising his First Amendment rights, Mr. Floyd neither threatened or intimidated anyone and he certainly did not communicate with a witness or co-defendant directly or indirectly," the filing said. "He has no idea who the state's witnesses even are at this point."

Floyd, who is the former director of Black Voices for Trump pleaded not guilty to three counts related to election interference after he was indicted in August alongside 18 defendants, including Trump, under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law.

Floyd surrendered the same month, but unlike his co-defendants, he failed to get a bond agreement due to charges he faced in another case, keeping him in jail for nearly a week before he was ultimately released on $100,000 bail.

Many of the accused face a litany of charges, including multiple counts of conspiracy to defraud the state, forgery, criminal attempt to file false documents, and conspiracy to commit fraud in the state during the 2020 election.

Four of the defendants have since pleaded guilty in exchange for their cooperation, including Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis and Scott Hall, who agreed to testify against their one-time cohorts, including Trump.

Last Friday, Willis filed a petition for the trial to begin on Aug. 5, several weeks after the Republican National Convention, and only three months before the 2024 election while Trump remains the early favorite to win the Republican nomination less than a year ahead of the ballot.

"I believe the trial will take many months and I don't expect that we will conclude until the winter or the very early part of 2025," Willis said last week.