OAN’s James Meyers
2:41 PM – Thursday, September 14, 2023
Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Thursday that former President Donald Trump and 16 other defendants will not have to go to trial in October but two other defendants charged over the alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia will.
The trial for the two defendants, lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro is scheduled to begin October 23rd. The judge denied the two lawyers’ requests to have trials separate from each other. McAfee said his decision “is simply a procedural and logistical inevitability.”
“Beginning with the logistical concerns, 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,” he wrote in his ruling. “Relocating to another larger venue raises security concerns that cannot be rapidly addressed.”
Additionally, McAfee said he doubted the Fulton County courthouse could handle a trial for all defendants at once.
However, prosecutors claimed they were prepared to put all 19 defendants together on trial but McAfee scorned the idea. He also pointed out the fact that the projected length of the trial is a factor, which prosecutors said could take over four months, with over 150 witnesses.
“We must consider the ripple effects of a months long, multi-defendant trial on the local criminal justice system, sidelining dozens of defense counsel from handling cases and preventing this Court and quite likely most colleagues from managing the rest of the docket,” the judge said.
The new ruling by the judge comes after all 19 defendants were indicted by a Fulton County Grand Jury last month on charges alleging to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in the Peach State. All defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges including Trump.
Powell and Chesebro were vocal about their right to a speedy trial and asked the judge to separate their cases from the other 17 defendants charged in the indictment.
McAfee called it an “absolute necessity” for the 17 defendants to be tried separately from the two lawyers and stated that “additional divisions of these 17 defendants may well be required.”
However, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis argued all 19 defendants should be tried together, stating “whereas breaking this case up into multiple lengthy trials would create an enormous strain on the judicial resources of the Fulton County Superior Court.”
Chesebro has been charged with seven counts in an alleged plot to submit a false slate of presidential electors from Georgia who would support Trump.
As for Powell, she is accused of allegedly pushing claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. As well as allegedly participating in a meeting at the White House in December 2020, during which White House lawyers confronted Powell and lawyer Rudy Giuliani about their election claims. She faces seven counts related to those alleged efforts.
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