ATLANTA – In a recent development in the legal proceedings surrounding former U.S. President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants implicated in the Georgia election case, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has raised significant skepticism regarding the feasibility of trying all defendants simultaneously.
During a court hearing held on Wednesday, Judge McAfee remarked, “It just seems a bit unrealistic to think that we can handle all 19 defendants in 40-something days,” as the speedy trial deadline of next month looms. He has granted a 10-day window for prosecutors to present a viable plan for maintaining the cohesiveness of the trial.
This development comes as former Trump campaign lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro have requested a separation of their case from the primary prosecution and its acceleration under Georgia’s speedy trial statute. Several other defendants have also filed motions to disassociate their cases from the main trial, with some seeking a transfer from state to federal jurisdiction. Additionally, certain defendants argue that they will not be adequately prepared for trial by the proposed October date, as reported by Reuters.
Prosecutors have countered these motions by invoking Georgia’s racketeering law, allowing for the linkage of defendants even if they had no prior acquaintance or involvement in every facet of the alleged scheme, as per Bloomberg.
Donald Trump, who faces allegations related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia, is concurrently dealing with three other pending criminal trials. These additional legal challenges may complicate the schedule for the Georgia case.
In Florida, Trump is under indictment for his handling of classified documents following his departure from office. Meanwhile, New York has brought charges against him in connection with hush money payments made to a porn star, and Washington is prosecuting him for endeavors to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
The former president has consistently labeled these legal proceedings as part of a “witch hunt” aimed at undermining his White House campaign.
As this complex legal saga unfolds, the practicality of trying all defendants together remains a subject of judicial scrutiny. Legal experts anticipate further developments as the October trial date approaches.