On Wednesday, Fulton County judge Scott McAfee heard arguments from attorneys for former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro, former President Donald Trump, and 16 other defendants in the Georgia RICO lawsuit brought by District attorney Fani Willis, alleging a criminal conspiracy arising out the 2020 presidential elections.
The judge denied both motions but expressed doubt that the prosecutors would be able to present a case against all 19 defendants by October 23, the date of the current trial.
Scott McAfee, Fulton County Superior Court judge, said that he was “very skeptical” about Willis’ plan of trying all 19 co-defendants together. He told prosecutors: “I am willing to listen to what you have to say on this.”
I’m sorry to be a lawyer, but it’s absurd that Willis’s office would proceed with a complex criminal case involving 19 defendants in seven weeks. They told Judge McAfee during the hearing on Wednesday they expected this case to take them four months and include over 150 witnesses. If I end up eating my crow, then I will own it. But I predict that none of the 19 defendants in this case will go to trial by October. Mark Meadows (Trump’s former Chief Of Staff) and others still have removal issues (to federal courts) to resolve, and the majority of defendants will object (and try to maneuver around) a fast trial date. If the judge insists on having the cases tried together, the trial will not begin until well into 2024.
Attorneys for Powell, Chesebro, and their clients argued that the cases of each should be severe as they only amounted to a small portion of the indictment.
Scott Grubman, Chesebro’s attorney, argued that attempting to try Chesebro along with the other defendants was unfair because Chesebro had only committed a small portion of the acts alleged in the Indictment. Grubman said that the Fulton County case boiled down to three separate conspiracies. One was related to an alternate elector scheme. A second involved tampering with the ballot computers in Coffee County. And a third concerned the attempt to intimate poll worker Ruby Freeman.
Grubman stated that “Mr. Chesebro’s only concern is the evidence or accusations with the alternate elector conspiracy alleged conspiracy.”
Why should Mr. Chesebro be forced to deal with a juror who will sit for weeks, or even months, to listen to this evidence about Coffee County and Miss Powell? He has never been to Coffee County. He’s never met Miss Powell. Grubman stated that he had never called or emailed her.
Prosecutors argued that in order to prove conspiracy, they would have to include all witnesses and evidence for each defendant. The judicial economy would be best served by trying all defendants at once. It is better to have one trial with multiple witnesses lasting four months or more than 19 trials.
The judge is likely to be on the side of judicial efficiency (and holding the parties to account with a quick trial — nothing gets a case moving and encourages lawyers to stop dragging their heels like a looming court date).
I still think that none of the cases will go to trial in October. We’ll find out for sure within the next seven weeks, or maybe sooner. We will continue to update you as new information becomes available.