Trial Separation: Trump and Co-Defendants Set Apart
In a recent ruling, a Georgia judge has decided that former President Donald Trump and 16 other co-defendants will face separate trials from Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro. This decision comes in the context of a case revolving around an alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Powell and Chesebro’s Speedy Trial Request
Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro had petitioned for a swift trial, resulting in Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduling their trial to commence on October 23. Recognizing that some of the other defendants might not be prepared for an October trial, Trump and the remaining co-defendants requested separate trials.
Push for a Joint Trial
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis advocated for a consolidated trial, aiming to try all 19 co-defendants together, asserting that they were part of a significant conspiracy to undermine Joe Biden’s election victory in Georgia. However, Judge McAfee cited several reasons for his decision to separate the trials.
Complexity and Space Constraints
Judge McAfee acknowledged the tight timetable as one factor influencing his decision to split the trials. Additionally, logistical constraints were a significant concern, as the courthouse lacked a courtroom spacious enough to accommodate all 19 defendants, their respective legal teams, court personnel, and the prosecution.
Potential Further Divisions
The judge noted the possibility of needing to divide the remaining co-defendants into smaller groups for trial due to space limitations. While he did not set a specific trial date for Trump and the other 16 defendants, the timeline established suggests that their trial will not occur before December.
Waiver of Speedy Trial Rights
Judge McAfee emphasized that any defendant who does not waive their right to a speedy trial before October 23 will promptly join that trial. Importantly, Trump has already waived his right to a speedy trial.
Chesebro and Powell’s Denial and Charges
Kenneth Chesebro, one of the co-defendants, faces accusations of engaging in activities supporting the alleged conspiracy. Chesebro, a former lawyer for Trump, drafted a memo outlining the “alternate electors” strategy, aiming to provide an alternative slate for the electoral college to support Donald Trump. His defense argued that he was merely fulfilling his duty as an attorney to his client.
Sidney Powell, another co-defendant, faces computer-related charges connected to an attempt to improperly access voting machines in Georgia’s Coffee County. The indictment alleges that she hired and paid a computer forensics team to copy data and software from election equipment without authorization. Powell had previously made unfounded claims of “massive voter fraud” involving Dominion Voting Systems in the 2020 election