Judge declines to jail Trump co-defendant Harrison Floyd in Georgia election interference case

Prosecutors accused him of "a pattern of intimidation" toward witnesses.

November 21, 2023, 5:14 PM

A Fulton County judge on Tuesday rejected a request to revoke the bond of Harrison Floyd, one of the co-defendants in former President Donald Trump's Georgia election interference case, after District Attorney Fani Willis personally argued for him to be jailed immediately.

Judge Scott McAfee found that Floyd violated the conditions of his bond "in several instances" after he posted multiple tweets tagging witnesses in the case -- but the judged ruled that "not every violation compels revocation."

Instead, he said he would "modify" the bond conditions in some way "to specifically prohibit public comment about witnesses" moving forward.

The hearing marked the first time that Willis has personally presented arguments in court related to the case.

Floyd, along with Trump and 17 other defendants, pleaded not guilty over the summer to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.

All 19 defendants surrendered for processing and were subsequently released on bond. Defendants Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, Jena Ellis and Scott Hall subsequently took plea deals in exchange for agreeing to testify against other defendants.

Willis, in an impassioned plea before the court on Tuesday, argued that Floyd's disparaging tweets amounted to intimidation and were a "disgusting" violation of the bond order he agreed to.

PHOTO: Booking photo provided by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office shows Harrison Floyd, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta.
Booking photo provided by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office shows Harrison Floyd, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta.
FCSO/AFP via Getty Images

"He was given the benefit of the doubt ... he was given an opportunity to cooperate with the rules of the case, and what he really did was spit on the court and refuse to oblige by three of the seven conditions of his bond order," Willis said of the bond agreement, which prohibits the intimidation of any co-defendant or witness in the case, and prohibits communication directly with any witnesses or defendants about the facts of the case.

"It is unfair to those witnesses. And there are real consequences for allowing defendants to intimidate witnesses," Willis said, urging the judge to "remand him today."

Floyd's attorney asked the judge not to jail Floyd, saying that if the judge asked him to "tone it down," Floyd would "do what you tell him to do."

"Threats and intimidation are well refined in Georgia law; none of these posts amount to a threat or intimidation," Floyd's lawyer stated.

During the hearing, one of Willis' chief investigators read aloud Floyd's tweets one by one, along with the threatening comments posted below them, as Floyd sat just feet away at the defense table.

Floyd tagged multiple witnesses in the case in his tweets, thus sending them direct notifications about the posts. Among those mentioned were Ellis, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and election official Gabriel Sterling -- as well as former election worker Ruby Freeman, who Floyd, in the DA's indictment, is accused of attempting to influence regarding the 2020 election.

"WE WANT THE TRUTH !!!!!!" Floyd wrote in a post naming Raffensperger and Sterling that referenced purported election crimes. "Its Accountability Time... Unseal the Ballots."

Willis' probe was sparked in part by the Jan. 3, 2021, phone call Trump made to Raffensperger in which Trump asked him to "find" the exact number of votes he needed to win the state of Georgia.

Sterling, a witness in the case, testified during the hearing that he saw Floyd's posts that tagged him or the Secretary of State's office, and that he did not like their contents.

"Do you enjoy being called a piece of fecal matter?" Willis asked him, in reference to one of Floyd's tweets about him.

"No, ma'am," responded Sterling.

But when asked by Floyd's attorney if he had felt threatened by the posts, Sterling said that "it's par for the course when you're a public figure," and that he never contacted law enforcement about the tweets.

An attorney for Freeman testified that she had taken security precautions as a result of Floyd's posts about her, which he said caused a "spike" in online activity regarding Freeman.

Floyd's attorney, however, argued that none of Floyd's posts contained any direct threats of violence.

Floyd pleaded not guilty in August to the three counts he is facing in the indictment, which include one count of influencing witnesses. He was the only defendant in the case to surrender without first negotiating a bond package, and was initially denied bond due to pending charges in another case.

He was ultimately released on a $100,000 bond, which included the provisions regarding co-defendants and witnesses.

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