Georgia Judge Weighs Revoking Bail for a Trump Co-Defendant, Harrison Floyd

In a fiery courtroom presentation, the prosecutor overseeing the Georgia racketeering case against former President Donald J. Trump argued on Tuesday that one of Mr. Trump’s co-defendants had intimidated potential witnesses on social media and should be sent to jail.

But Judge Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior Court chose not to revoke the bond of Harrison Floyd, the co-defendant. Instead, he signed off on modified terms prohibiting Mr. Floyd from posting further comments about witnesses in the case.

Fani T. Willis, the district attorney of Fulton County, Ga., took the unusual step of personally arguing on behalf of the prosecution, a few days after she filed a motion accusing Mr. Floyd of intimidating an elections worker and other witnesses for the state — including Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger — through his posts on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Mr. Floyd’s lawyers noted that Mr. Trump himself had issued provocative social media posts about the Georgia case, and that no action had been taken against him. That, they argued, made “the state’s decision to go after Harrison Floyd hard to justify.”

They also argued that Mr. Floyd had not been trying to intimidate or threaten anyone with his posts. But they acknowledged by the end of Tuesday’s hearing that he had “walked up close to the line” of violating the terms of his bond.

Mr. Floyd, once the head of a group called Black Voices for Trump, was paid by the 2020 Trump campaign. He is one of 19 people, including the former president, who were named as defendants in a 98-page racketeering indictment in August.

The indictment charges them with orchestrating a “criminal enterprise” to reverse the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Four of the defendants have pleaded guilty and have promised to cooperate with prosecutors.

In addition to a state racketeering charge, Mr. Floyd faces two other felony counts in the case, for his role in what the indictment describes as a scheme to intimidate Ruby Freeman, a Fulton County elections worker, and pressure her to falsely claim that she had committed electoral fraud.

Ms. Freeman and her daughter were part of a team processing votes in Fulton County on election night in November 2020. Soon after, video images of the two women handling ballots were posted online, and Trump supporters falsely claimed that the video showed them entering bogus votes to skew the election in President Biden’s favor.

Ms. Freeman became the target of so many threats that she was forced to leave her home.

Her lawyer was a witness for the prosecution at Tuesday’s hearing, producing a report that he said showed a recent “spike” in online mentions of Ms. Freeman. That spike led her to adopt a fresh set of security measures, her lawyer said.

Mr. Floyd’s lawyers, John Morrison and Chris Kachouroff, called the effort to revoke his bond “a retaliatory measure” — in part, they said, because Mr. Floyd recently turned down a plea agreement offered by the state.

They argued that “tagging” people in posts did not constitute contact with witnesses, and was no different from yelling “a message to someone else sitting on the opposite side of a packed Mercedes-Benz stadium during the middle of an Atlanta Falcons football game.”

Ms. Willis responded that “this notion that tagging someone doesn’t get a message to them is really lunacy,” She also called Mr. Floyd’s posts “disgusting,” adding that “what he really did is spit on the court.”

And she was explicit about the stakes as she saw them: Election workers, she said, should not be intimidated for doing their jobs.

Judge McAfee said that it appeared that Mr. Floyd had committed a “technical violation” of his bond by communicating with witnesses in the case, but seemed reluctant to take the step of jailing Mr. Floyd. “Not every violation compels revocation,” he said.

Ms. Willis’s forceful stance on Mr. Floyd’s posts could have repercussions for Mr. Trump, who is enmeshed in battles over gag orders in other civil and criminal cases against him. Mr. Trump’s bond agreement in Georgia specifies that he “shall perform no act,” including social media posts, “to intimidate any person known to him or her to be a co-defendant or witness in this case or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice.”

Mr. Floyd was the only one of the original 19 co-defendants in Georgia to spend days in jail in August while waiting to make bond. At Tuesday’s hearing, he cut a colorful figure at the defense table, wearing a green blazer adorned with polo horses. Before the hearing began, he appeared to be reading a book about the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.

As the two sides worked out the new terms of the bond agreement, Ms. Willis made a reference to “Trump,” prompting Mr. Floyd to interject, “President Trump.”

The judge told Mr. Floyd that it was not his place to talk.

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