In Donald Trump’s Georgia election interference case, Judge Scott McAfee recently made the decision to sever the trial, separating 17 defendants from the cases of Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, with their trial scheduled for October 23.
Ensuring the Right to Due Process
In the order to sever the remaining cases from Chesebro and Powell, Judge McAfee emphasized the need to ensure that each defendant’s right to due process was respected and said, “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.”
In Simpler Terms
The judge then made a point to discuss the many issues with hosting a 19-person trial by stating the courthouse “simply contained no courtroom adequately large enough to hold all 19 defendants.”
A Complicating Set Back
This decision is a setback for the prosecutors, as Judge McAfee claimed it was necessary for procedural and logistical reasons.
He also hinted at the possibility of further divisions in the future.
A Slight Clarification
However, McAfee clarified that any defendant who does not waive their right to a speedy trial before October 23 will immediately join the ongoing trial.
Notably, former President Donald Trump has already waived his right to a speedy trial.
Burdening the Courts
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had initially sought to have all 19 defendants tried together, arguing that multiple trials would burden the court system enormously.
Last week, Judge McAfee ordered the trial of Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell for October 23 in response to their requests for a speedy trial.
Chesebro also filed a motion requesting the disclosure of the identities of 30 unindicted co-conspirators mentioned in the indictment.
Protecting Public Discourse
During a recent hearing, prosecutors assured Judge McAfee that they would provide the identities, but it would be shared with the defense under a protective order to prevent public disclosure.
Transcripts for the Defense
Additionally, Judge McAfee expressed willingness to grant defense counsel access to transcripts of witnesses who had testified before the special purpose grand jury used in the initial investigation by the District Attorney’s office.
A Heated Moment
During the hearing, things even became heated when the District Attorney’s office accused one of Chesebro’s attorneys of inappropriate behavior.
One of Chesbro’s attorneys motioned to speak with members of the grand jury to investigate any inappropriate behavior in the grand jury process.
A Claim of Defamation
Chesebro’s attorney, Scott Grubman, then sprang up and yelled that he was being, “defamed” and the accusation was “completely inappropriate.”
The judge then told Grubman to “stay on the issue” and when he tried to continue she simply stated, “I said it’s over.”
19 and Not Guilty
The 19 defendants, including Donald Trump, have all pleaded not guilty to the charges outlined in a comprehensive racketeering indictment.
This indictment alleges their involvement in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.
In response to the accusation, Former President Trump contends that his actions were not illegal and claims that the investigation is politically motivated.
Kenneth Chesebro faces accusations of drafting a strategy to employ “alternate electors” to prevent Joe Biden from attaining 270 electoral votes.
His defense maintains that his actions were justified as part of his duty to his client, Donald Trump.
Sidney Powell is accused of conspiring with co-defendants to commit election fraud, allegedly encouraging and helping individuals tamper with ballot markers and machines within an elections office in Coffee County.
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