Donald Trump and his co-defendants are reportedly angry after Fulton County, Georgia’s District Attorney Fani Willis asked a Georgia judge to expedite the legal proceedings for all 19 individuals accused in a comprehensive racketeering case related to their involvement in tampering with the state’s 2020 election.
Following a request for a swift trial by one of the defendants, Kenneth Chesebro, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduled Chesebro’s trial for October 23, which is four months ahead of Willis’s original proposed date.
However, Judge McAfee clarified that this accelerated trial date exclusively pertains to Chesebro “at the moment.” In response to this decision, Willis contested the ruling in a court submission on Tuesday.
In her filing, Willis stated, “The State of Georgia respectfully urges the Court to revise its Case Specific Scheduling Order issued on August 24, 2023, to the extent that the Order specifies, ‘[a]t this time, these deadlines do not apply to any co-defendant.'”
As per Georgia’s regulations on speedy trials, the cases must be resolved within two court terms following the defendants’ formal charges. The arraignments, during which the defendants will be officially informed of the charges against them and will enter their pleas, are scheduled for September 6 for all the defendants.
Sidney Powell, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign, also insisted on a speedy trial, but Judge McAfee has not yet determined a date for her case. Powell submitted a written plea of not guilty for all charges on Tuesday and waived her arraignment. It remains uncertain how this will impact the timeline of her case.
Willis asserted on Tuesday that her office maintains the stance that “dividing the cases is inappropriate at this stage, and all Defendants should be jointly tried.” This position has been upheld since the announcement of charges earlier in the month.
“At the very least, the Court should schedule Defendant Powell’s trial, along with any other defendant who might demand a speedy trial, for the same date as Defendant Chesebro’s trial,” Willis emphasized.
The Fulton County district attorney additionally requested the court to establish a deadline for defendants who intend to separate their cases from the rest. This would allow adequate time for both parties to present arguments and conduct a hearing on the matter.
The accused, which includes Trump, collectively face 41 charges alleging their involvement in a criminal enterprise aimed at undermining the state’s election results in order to retain Trump’s presidency after his loss in the 2020 election.
Should Judge McAfee approve Willis’s request, this trial could mark Trump’s first appearance. The former president currently has two trials scheduled for March and a third for May in relation to three other criminal cases.