The upcoming trial involving former President Donald Trump and two of his co-defendants in the extensive Georgia election meddling case has been postponed, as the judge has decided to separate their prosecutions.
Scott McAfee, a Fulton County Superior Court Judge, has approved the requests filed by Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell to separate their criminal cases from the 17 remaining co-defendants who were recently indicted as part of Atlanta Democrat District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation. Former President Trump has alleged that Willis is an anti-white racist.
However, McAfee rejected the attempt made by Chesebro and Powell to have their cases treated separately, resulting in both individuals being scheduled for the same trial on October 23rd.
The court’s decision represents a setback for Georgia prosecutors, who sought to maintain the consolidation of all 19 co-defendants in the ongoing legal proceedings.
According to McAfee’s statement, the separation of Chesebro and Powell was “simply a procedural and logistical inevitability.”
According to McAfee, “The Fulton County Courthouse simply contains no courtroom adequately large enough to hold all 19 defendants, their multiple attorneys and support staff, the sheriff’s deputies, court personnel, and the State’s prosecutorial team.”
The 41-count indictment filed against all 19 defendants, including Willis, alleges their violation of Georgia’s racketeering legislation and other criminal offenses. These allegations stem from their alleged involvement in a conspiracy aimed at overturning President Joe Biden’s triumph in Georgia’s 2020 election.
Chesebro, an attorney accused of purportedly facilitating the inclusion of fraudulent slates of electors to cast their ballots in favor of Trump, is facing charges encompassing seven counts. Powell, an attorney known for her support of former President Trump, is currently confronted with seven charges, which notably encompass two charges of conspiracy to engage in election fraud.
Donald Trump is currently confronted with 13 charges in the state of Georgia, constituting one of four ongoing criminal proceedings that he must contend with while pursuing a potential presidential bid in 2024. Each of the defendants in the state of Georgia has entered a plea of not guilty.
Chesebro and Powell are the sole defendants who actively pursued a prompt trial in the state of Georgia. According to McAfee’s statement in the ruling issued on Thursday, in the event that any further defendant requests an expedited trial prior to October 23rd, they will promptly be included alongside Chesebro and Powell in the courtroom.
McAfee established a prescribed timeline for the submission of all motions by December 1st for Trump and the remaining 16 co-defendants.
The trial date for the defendants has not been determined by the judge. However, it is worth mentioning that the court has “received assurances that other members of the Fulton County bench stand ready to begin a second trial within the November/December term.”
Separately this week, Trump made a request for Judge Tanya Chutkan to disqualify herself from the legal proceedings pertaining to the 2020 election subversion case in which he is the defendant. This case has been initiated by special counsel Jack Smith.
In a recent court filing on Monday, Trump referenced statements made by Chutkan in cases pertaining to the individuals involved in the January 6 US Capitol violence. He posited that there exists a high probability that rational individuals within society may “believe she has prejudged both the facts pertinent to this case and President Trump’s alleged culpability.”
Judge Chutkan asserts that the constitutional guarantee of free speech, as it pertains to former President Trump in the January 6 case, is not without limitations.
“In a highly charged political season, naturally all Americans, and in fact, the entire world, are observing these proceedings closely,” he declared. “Only if this trial is administered by a judge who appears entirely impartial could the public ever accept the outcome as justice.”
Chutkan has requested the perspective of the prosecutors from the Justice Department, which is expected to be submitted in a file by Thursday. Subsequently, Trump will be afforded the option to respond to the aforementioned reasons through a submission to be made by Sunday.
Chutkan, an individual appointed by Barack Obama and then assigned to Trump’s case through a random process, has consistently expressed her views regarding the riot at the Capitol. She has characterized the violence as an attack on the democratic principles of the United States and has raised concerns about the potential for future political violence. The judge has consistently imposed prison sentences on convicted rioters that surpass the recommendations made by the prosecutors.
Chutkan has also overseen civil litigation pertaining to the events of January 6, 2021, which included a firm denial of former President Trump’s efforts to stop the House select committee’s viewing of over 700 pages of documents during his tenure .
In the aforementioned judgment, Chutkan stated that “Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President.”
It is probable that Trump’s plea for Chutkan to recuse herself from presiding over his criminal case will face significant challenges, given that the request was submitted directly to Chutkan.