An Atlanta judge on Thursday denied prosecutors’ request to simultaneously try former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants next month on charges that the group tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled that two co-defendants who had invoked their right to a speedy trial could separate their case from the former president, court documents show.
“The Court joins the skepticism expressed by several federal courts that denying damages always ensures efficiency, especially in ‘megatrials’ like this one,” McAfee wrote in an order, calling it a “procedural and logistical inevitability” that the co-defendants were removed.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had objected to the co-defendants separating their cases from each other, arguing in a Wednesday filing that “multiple protracted trials would create enormous tension” in the court.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled Thursday that two co-defendants who had invoked their right to a speedy trial could separate their case from the former president.
The Atlanta prosecutor charged Trump and his allies on August 14 with 41 counts, including violations of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, conspiracy, making false statements and asking a public official to violate his or her oath of office. .
The 19 co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, who were charged after working as Trump campaign lawyers in 2020, won the judge’s approval last week for an Oct. 23 trial date in the Peach State.
The Atlanta judge denied prosecutors’ request to try former President Donald Trump along with 18 co-defendants next month.Getty Images
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had objected to the co-defendants separating their cases from each other.
“Defendants Chesebro and Powell will be joined at trial, however, the other 17 defendants are separate from these two,” McAfee said in his order, also denying the couple’s request to separate. “Additional compensation is possible.”
The judge also rejected requests contained in his ruling to stay proceedings against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and other defendants who seek to have their cases moved to federal court.
McAfee said in a livestreamed hearing Thursday morning that it would have been “a little unrealistic” to put all 19 defendants behind the same table to begin the trial in late October, saying “there was no courtroom.” large enough court.”
Kenneth Chesebro, who was charged after working as a Trump campaign lawyer in 2020, had his request for an Oct. 23 trial date in the Peach State approved by the judge last week. FULTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE/AFP via Getty Images
Sidney Powell, another Trump 2020 lawyer, will join Chesebro.AP
Trump, 77, had already requested through his attorney Steven Sadow that his right to a speedy trial be waived, with the lawyer arguing that an October trial date would interfere with a separate Medicare fraud case he faces. in federal court in Florida.
McAfee set a motion deadline of December 1 for the former president, delaying a possible trial date near the end of the year or into 2024.