Former President Donald Trump is facing a lengthy trial in the Georgia 2020 election interference investigation after a judge ruled against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ request to have all 19 defendants put on trial by October 23.
Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Thursday that separating the 17 defendants who did not demand for a speedy trial from the two who did -- Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell -- was necessary to protect the due process rights of all individuals involved.
“The precarious ability of the Court to safeguard each defendant’s due process rights and ensure adequate pretrial preparation on the current accelerated track weighs heavily, if not decisively, in favor of severance,” said McAfee in court.
Judge Scott McAfee rules that severing the remaining 17 Fulton defendants from Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell, who demanded speedy trials and are going to court on Oct. 23, is "simply a procedural and logistical inevitability" pic.twitter.com/hXFd26QjuP
— Tamar Hallerman (@TamarHallerman) September 14, 2023
Fulton County's District Attorney had argued in favor of keeping all 19 defendants together, saying that judicial efficiency merited the single trial. However, Judge McAfee said that the court simply contained no courtroom that could accommodate all 19 defendants and the respective legal teams, noting the security risks of relocating and increased time to manage cross-examination and objections.
The 41-count racketeering indictment came out of a grand jury last month and is tied to Trump’s attempts to maintain power in Georgia and other swing states following the 2020 election. This case is the longest, though not the most severe, that Trump is facing, and has become a RICO case due to its alleged involvement in the racketeering investigation.
Recently, law professor Jonathan Turley has been warning Democrats about Trump's legal gauntlet, noting that he won’t be serving jail time anytime in the near future, regardless of the politically motivated charge.
It is estimated that the trial will begin by at least January 2022, with the future of the case depending on the resolution of several pretrial motions and subpoenas for records. The outcome of the upcoming trial can be unpredictable, however, due to a number of possible scenarios.
The outcome of the trial could also have significant implications for the future of American politics, as Trump remains one of the most powerful political figures in the United States. It is paramount that any trial process remains fair and transparent, in order to ensure that justice is served.