In the ongoing Fulton County criminal proceedings involving former President Donald Trump and 18 others, specifically related to alleged violations of Georgia’s RICO statutes, Judge Scott McAfee had previously decided not to separate the cases of former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell and attorney Kenneth Chesebro, both of whom had requested a swift trial.
Yet, as the trial date of October 23 drew near, the judge had doubts about whether the prosecutors could adequately prepare for a trial involving all 19 defendants within that time frame. Consequently, McAfee has now decided to separate the cases of Chesebro and Powell.
A Georgia judge ruled that former President Donald Trump and 16 others will be tried separately from two defendants set to go to trial next month in the case accusing them of participating in a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election. https://t.co/hH6e8tQTyN
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 14, 2023
The trials for Powell and Chesebro are set to take place on October 23. However, the other cases will be scheduled for a later date unless any of the remaining defendants choose not to give up their right to a speedy trial, they will also go to trial on October 23 alongside Powell and Chesebro.
Judge Scott McAfee stated that it was necessary to separate the remaining 17 defendants due to procedural and logistical reasons, and he left open the possibility of needing “additional divisions” in the future.
Furthermore, the judge emphasized that any defendant who doesn’t choose to give up their right to a speedy trial before October 23 will be added to the trial immediately. Notably, Trump has already waived his speedy trial rights.
In his decision to separate the remaining cases, he pointed to concerns about ensuring due process and the extensive amount of evidence and information involved in the case.
The decision read, “The precarious ability of the Court to safeguard each defendant’s due process rights and preparation ensure adequate pretrial preparation on the current accelerated track weights heavily, if not decisively, in favor of severance.”
As former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others work through the matter of removal, it’s probable that many, if not most, of the defendants will choose to waive their right to a speedy trial along with Trump. However, there’s a chance that a few may decide to join Powell and Chesebro and proceed with their cases without delay.
Certainly, if the trial begins in late October, which is the expectation, everyone will be watching it closely. Without a doubt, Trump’s lawyers, and those representing the other defendants, will be closely examining how the prosecutors present their evidence and plan their trial strategy as they prepare their own strategies.