Fulton County judge denies DA's request to revoke Trump co-defendant's bond in election subversion case

Judge Scott McAfee presides over a hearing for Harrison Floyd at the Fulton County Courthouse, Nov. 3, 2023, in Atlanta. McAfee is set to hear arguments on a request to revoke the bond of Harrison Floyd, one of former President Donald Trump's codefendants in the Georgia case related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last week filed a motion asking McAfee to revoke the bond of Floyd. (Christian Monterrosa/Pool Photo via AP, File)

This story was updated at 5:21 p.m.

A judge has ruled against revoking bond for Harrison Floyd, one of the co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case.

However, Judge Scott McAfee is ordering changes to the bond conditions after Floyd posted about several witnesses in the case on social media.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis appeared in court herself to argue that Floyd should be detained while he awaits trial and at one point, addressed him directly as he sat nearby.

“You should not have done this,” Willis said. “You knew it was against the rules, you put someone in danger as a result of doing it and now you need to be held accountable for it so that we can make sure all of the defendants in this case get a fair trial and that witnesses are kept safe.”

Floyd is facing three felony counts over his failed efforts to intimidate Fulton election worker Ruby Freeman into falsely admitting she committed election fraud. Floyd, the former leader of Black Voices for Trump, has also adopted a novel legal defense –— trying to prove that the 2020 election was indeed stolen. 

In recent weeks, Floyd regularly posted on X about Freeman and tagged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his chief operating officer Gabe Sterling in posts, as well as former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis. All are witnesses in the election interference case.

Floyd used poop emojis, posted images, video and audio clips of the witnesses and accused them of lying and fraud. In many instances, other X users responded with foreboding messages about the witnesses.

Floyd’s lawyer argued that Floyd’s social media posts did not constitute direct contact or intimidation. 

“If the court tells him, look, I want you to tone it down, I don’t want you to mention Ruby Freeman, he’ll do what you tell him to do,” attorney Chris Kachouroff said.

Ultimately, Judge McAfee ruled that the posts did not amount to intimidation. But McAfee found that Floyd did technically violate his bond by communicating with witnesses about the case — though he said not all violations demand revocation. 

Instead, he ordered prosecutors and Floyd’s lawyers to modify the bond to more explicitly prohibit Floyd from posting about Freeman and some other witnesses going forward.

“I think the public safety interests raised as a result of today’s hearing indicate that his actions have a consequence,” McAfee said.

He also told prosecutors they are welcome to move again for Floyd’s bond to be revoked if he flouts the new conditions.

A trial date has not been set for Floyd, former President Trump and the other remaining co-defendants. 

Trump, who is also facing federal charges, has been admonished by the judge overseeing that case. That judge has issued a limited gag order, preventing Trump from attacking prosecutors, likely witnesses and court staff. An appeals court recently heard arguments about whether Trump violated that order.