Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.
USAWorld News

Georgia judge ‘skeptical’ of DA plan to put Trump on trial next month

ATLANTA — The judge presiding in the election interference case against Donald Trump and his Georgia allies said Wednesday he was “very skeptical” of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ plans to bring the 19 defendants – including the former president – the next trial. month.

During a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court, Judge Scott McAfee said the prosecutor’s plan seemed “a bit unrealistic” given some of the complex legal and practical issues involved in the sprawling case, but he did. said he would consider additional arguments.

Nathan Wade, who represented the prosecutor’s office at the hearing, told the judge that a trial for the 19 defendants would take about four months and that prosecutors expect 150 witnesses to testify.

Willis’ office originally recommended a March trial date, but moved the date forward after former Trump attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell called for a speedy trial.

McAfee said Wednesday he was granting the request for at least those two.

“We are certainly here, ready and willing to grant that right to both defendants, and we plan to maintain the trial date of October 23,” McAfee said, adding that he would rule on the other defendants after considering the arguments of the defendants. Willis.

The decision was not a complete victory for Powell and Chesebro: McAfee denied their request to separate their files from each other. Their lawyers had argued that this decision was necessary because, although both were accused of racketeering, they would have implemented different schemes.

Both pleaded not guilty, as did Trump and the other defendants.

The sweeping indictment, comprising 41 counts, accused the 19 of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. Willis alleged that the defendants participated in schemes to undo Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia and to illegally name Trump as the winner of the election.

Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, former Trump lawyers. Fulton County Sheriff’s Office / AP

Powell, who was part of Trump’s legal team that bolstered his allegations of widespread voter fraud after his defeat, is charged with racketeering, conspiracy to commit voter fraud, conspiracy to commit theft of computer, intrusion and invasion of privacy and conspiracy to defraud the state. . The computer theft charge relates to an attempt to improperly access voting machines in rural Coffee County, prosecutors say.

Powell filed a motion last month to sever her case from the other co-defendants, saying she “has no substantial connection to any other defendant regarding the charges in the indictment.”

“Contrary to widely reported misrepresentations in the media, Sidney Powell did not represent President Trump or the Trump campaign. She had no engagement agreement with either of them,” Powell’s defense attorney Brian Rafferty said in a filing last month. “There is no doubt that Ms Powell went her own way after the election and never reached an agreement on a course of action with any co-conspirator, charged or not – and certainly not on a course of action. illegal. She was not part of any group “associated in fact”, nor of a “permanent organization” functioning as a “continuing unit”, for any purpose whatsoever.

Rafferty denied Powell’s involvement in the Coffee County election data breach, saying there was no contract to perform forensic imaging of the systems and that she did not arrange the trip in Coffee County.

“MS. Powell can only receive a fair trial if she is tried alone. she had no knowledge or connections that she had no connection to would deny her due process,” Rafferty said in a filing last month, saying her trial would last a maximum of three days and result in an acquittal. The mere fact that Ms Powell is forced to sit in a courtroom for weeks or months with co-defendants will cause enormous harm to Ms Powell.”

Chesebro, meanwhile, helped craft the fringe legal theory behind the so-called bogus voter scheme to nullify the election, and pleaded not guilty to racketeering and conspiracy charges last week.

Chesebro argued that he was simply sharing legal advice and did not commit any illegal actions. He filed motions last month calling for a speedy trial and asked the judge to sever his case from the other co-defendants.

“While separate and completely unrelated to the allegations against Mr. Chesebro, the allegations related to Ms. Powell focus on her alleged belief, and her alleged work to promote that belief, that voting machines mistakenly counted the votes,” his lawyers said. in a file last week.

Chesebro’s attorneys said he had never communicated directly with Powell or been to Coffee County, where much of his alleged involvement was centered. They argued that trying Chesebro with Powell would be potentially harmful.

“In order to reach a fair determination of Mr. Chesebro’s guilt or innocence, he must be excluded from the trial,” the filing said. “The fact that Mr. Chesebro is involved with Ms. Powell will bind them inextricably together and has the potential to cause enormous harm.”

Chesebro’s attorneys on Tuesday asked McAfee to dismiss RICO’s indictment, citing the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause.

In their Tuesday filing, lawyers for Chesebro said most of the behavior he is accused of occurred after the ‘safe harbor’ date of the 2020 election for states to resolve disputes and certify their results. and would therefore be a violation of federal law, not Georgia law.

“Under the supremacy clause, the state cannot prosecute or otherwise regulate conduct that was wholly within the jurisdiction of federal authority. Therefore, the state has no authority to prosecute any conduct after December 8,” they wrote.

They noted a Dec. 6, 2020 memo that Chesebro wrote detailing the fake voter scheme on the record, arguing that while it was inappropriate for Chesebro to write the memo, “this memo in no way touched or concerned Georgia or its rules. , processes or procedures that he had implemented through his congressional delegation through the [Electoral Count Act].”

“Therefore, the charges against Mr. Chesebro are totally invalid as written in the indictment and should be quashed accordingly,” they wrote.

Separately, Willis filed a motion Wednesday to keep the names and likenesses of jurors secret at any upcoming trials. The filing asked McAfee to issue an order that would prevent courtroom cameras from showing jurors and also prevent the release of jurors’ written descriptions.

“Based on the doxing of the Fulton County grand jurors and the Fulton County prosecutor, it is clearly foreseeable that trial jurors will likely be doxed if their names are made public,” Willis wrote. “If this were to occur, the effect on the ability of jurors to decide the issues before them impartially and without outside influence would undoubtedly be compromised, placing them in physical danger and materially affecting constitutional law of all defendants to a fair and impartial jury.

NBC News reported last month that Trump supporters released the purported names and addresses of the grand jury members who indicted Trump and his 18 co-defendants in Fulton County. The indictment itself lists the names of the grand jury members but not their addresses or other personal information.

Charlie Gile reported from Atlanta. Summer Concepcion and Dareh Gregorian reported from New York.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

Back to top button