ATLANTA – A Fulton County Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed a bid to dismiss election interference charges against former President Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants on constitutional grounds.

Judge Scott McAfee rejected arguments that the indictments Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis brought against Trump and the other defendants last summer violated First Amendment protections of political speech.

“The Court finds that the Defendants’ expressions and speech are alleged to have been made in furtherance of criminal activity and constitute false statements knowingly and willfully made in matters within a government agency’s jurisdiction which threaten to deceive and harm the government,” McAfee wrote in a 14-page ruling.

“Even core political speech addressing matters of public concern is not impenetrable from prosecution if allegedly used to further criminal activity.”

Trump and his co-defendants are charged with participating in a conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia that saw Democrat Joe Biden carry the Peach State over incumbent Republican Trump.

Among other things, the conspiracy included a meeting by a group of Republican “fake” electors at the Georgia Capitol in December 2020 to declare Trump the winner in Georgia and a phone call in January 2021 in which Trump allegedly urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” the 11,780 votes Trump needed to carry the state. Trump lost to Biden in Georgia by 11,779 votes.

Several of Trump’s co-defendants have pleaded guilty in the case in the months since a Fulton County grand jury handed down the indictments.

More recently, McAfee dismissed six of the indictment’s 41 counts, including three counts naming Trump directly.

Last month, the judge also ruled Willis could remain on the case, rejecting arguments from Trump and several co-defendants that she should be removed because of her romantic relationship with Nathan Wade, the special counsel she hired to lead the prosecution. Wade subsequently resigned from the case.

In a separate three-page ruling Thursday, McAfee also dismissed two motions for dismissal filed by the lawyer for former Georgia Republican Chairman David Shafer.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and argues the case is politically motivated.