The two remaining co-defendants, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, had sought speedy trials and are scheduled to begin in October…reports Asian Lite News
Former US President Donald Trump, along with 16 co-defendants, will not go to trial in October with two other defendants in the Georgia election subversion case, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee announced, CNN reported on Thursday.
Now, Trump and other co-defendants will move forward on their own schedule, with a trial date yet to be announced.
The two remaining co-defendants, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, had sought speedy trials and are scheduled to begin in October.
McAfee’s order shuts down the effort by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to have all 19 defendants tried together in October.
“Fulton County DA Fani Willis’ politically motivated, wrongful attempt to deny President Trump due process of law by arguing that no severances should be granted has been summarily squashed by the court,” CNN quoted a Trump spokesperson as saying.
“Willis’ unjust rush to judgment in order to please her radical political base has simply failed,” the spokesperson added.
While McAfee didn’t set a trial date for Trump and 16 of his co-defendants, the timeline set out in the court order means they wouldn’t go on trial before at least December, as per CNN.
The new schedule laid out by the judge signals he wants to start hashing out pre-trial disputes with the batch of 17 defendants by the end of the year. The judge is ordering discovery to start by October 6.
Meanwhile, the Georgia election subversion case is one of four criminal cases proceeding against the former president, who is also involved in several civil matters that are also clogging up his legal calendar as the 2024 election cycle heats up, according to CNN.
McAfee’s order cements that the Fulton County prosecution against Trump won’t go to trial this year, and it presents the possibility that it could be competing against the trials set for the first half of next year in the three other criminal cases against Trump.
One of those cases is the federal election subversion case that special counsel Jack Smith has brought against Trump in Washington, DC, which is currently to go to trial in early March.
Notably, Smith took more streamlined approach than Willis against Trump, and charged him by himself, without any co-defendants, CNN reported.
On the other hand, the trial date for the prosecution by Manhattan prosecutors of Trump for an alleged hush-money scheme in his 2016 campaign appears to be in flux.
Initially scheduled for March 2024 as well, the judge in that case signalled this week he was open to moving the start date to accommodate Trump’s increasingly complicated legal calendar.
The special counsel case alleging Trump mishandled classified documents is slated for a trial that begins in a Florida federal court in late May.
“While he is juggling these various criminal cases – as well as the New York attorney general’s civil fraud case against his business and family going to trial in October, as well as the defamation proceedings related to his smears of a woman who accused him of sexual assault – Trump is ramping up for the 2024 presidential race, where he is the front-runner for the GOP nomination,” CNN reported.
Trump has argued that prosecutors’ attempt to bring him to trial in the coming months is a “politically-motivated effort” to meddle in the 2024 election.
In arguing that the 19 defendants in her case should be tried together on a quick timeline, Willis had argued that breaking up the case “to multiple lengthy trials would create an enormous strain on the judicial resources of the Fulton County Superior Court.”
McAfee’s new order did not indicate whether he is considering further breaking out the 17 defendants not being tried in October into smaller groups, but it is a proposal that some of the defendants are already floating.
“Three or more simultaneous, high-profile trials would create a host of security issues and would create unavoidable burdens on witnesses and victims, who would be forced to testify three or more times on the same set of facts in the same case,” CNN cited the prosecutors in Willis’ office from a filing.(ANI)