Fulton County DA Seeks Joint Trial for Defendants in Georgia Election Interference Case
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is pushing for all 19 defendants charged in the Georgia election interference case to stand trial together. The DA’s office argues that severance would be inappropriate at this time and that a joint trial is necessary. The announcement comes after defendant Kenneth Chesebro requested a speedy trial, leading Judge Scott McAfee to order his trial on October 23.
Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys have indicated that they plan to move for the case to be severed. However, the DA is seeking clarification from Judge McAfee on whether the trial deadlines set for Chesebro also apply to the other defendants. Willis maintains that more information is needed for the court to determine if any of the defendants should be granted a motion to sever.
The DA’s office has specifically requested that former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell, who has also filed a motion for a speedy trial, be tried alongside Chesebro. In addition, they have asked the judge to set a deadline for any defendant seeking to sever the case. Trump, Chesebro, his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, Powell, and 15 others were charged in a racketeering indictment related to alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
Meadows’ charges stem from his involvement in a phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021. Meadows argued that his case should be moved to federal court as his actions were performed in his official capacity as chief of staff. However, prosecutors countered that his actions were purely political and unrelated to his official duties.
Judge McAfee raised the question of whether the prosecution could be removed to federal court if it were found that some, but not all, of Meadows’ acts occurred within the scope of his office. Both sides have been ordered to submit their responses on this matter by Thursday afternoon.
Several defendants in the case, including Powell, publicist Trevian Kutti, and Georgia attorney Ray Smith III, waived their formal arraignment and entered not guilty pleas. Powell and Smith have also stated that they are excused from appearing at the upcoming arraignment. The developments in this high-profile case continue to unfold, and further updates are expected in the coming weeks.