Georgia election interference trial expected to take 4 months, prosecutors say at hearing on splitting up case

Trump Georgia Election Case, US News Today (News21USA) – The Fulton County DA’s office told a judge Wednesday they expect the trial against the 19 defendants in the Georgia election interference case will take four months — not including jury selection — and that the state plans to call over 150 witnesses.

The information from prosecutors came as Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee heard arguments from two defendants in the case who are seeking to sever their cases from the other defendants.

Both defendants — attorney Kenneth Chesebro and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell — have filed speedy trial demands as well as motions to sever the case completely from the other defendants, including from each other.

The Fulton County district attorney’s office has reiterated its desire that “all defendants should be tried together.”

Chesebro, Powell, and 17 others, including former President Donald Trump, have pleaded not guilty to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia. The former president says his actions were not illegal and that the investigation is politically motivated.

Chesebro’s attorney Scott Grubman began Wednesday’s hearing by arguing that trying Chesebro with the other defendants would be unfair, since Chesebro only engaged in a portion of the conduct alleged in the indictment. Grubman argued that the Fulton County case boils down to three distinct conspiracies: one related to the alternate elector scheme, a second related to tampering with ballot computers in Coffee County, and a third related to the effort to intimate poll worker Ruby Freeman.

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“Mr. Chesbro is only concerned in terms of the evidence or allegations with what I’m going to call the alternate elector alleged conspiracy,” Grubman said.

While Grubman recognized that Georgia’s racketeering statute gives prosecutors the ability to charge broader criminal conduct, he argued that connecting Chesebro to unrelated conduct would be unfair to his client.

“Why should Mr. Chesbro have to deal with a jury who’s going to sit there for weeks, if not months, and listen to all of this evidence related to Coffee County and Miss Powell? He’s never been there. He’s never met Miss Powell. He’s never emailed or called her,” Grubman said.

Chesebro’s other attorney, Manubir Arora, said that severing his client from the others would ultimately result in a “clean trial [that] would be much shorter.”

However, prosecutor Nathan Wade said that even if the case was broken up and Chesebro and Powell were tried separately, the DA’s office would “absolutely” need the same amount of time and same number of witnesses to try the case, given they have to prove the entire conspiracy.

“So the court, in the interest of judicial economy, would have to make the decision as to whether or not the court wants to try the same case 19 times,” Wade said.

“The state’s position is that whether we have one trial or 19 trials, the evidence is exactly the same,” said Fulton County Deputy District Attorney Will Wooten. “The number of witnesses is the same.”

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Powell’s attorney argued that she should be tried alone, not with Chesebro, so that he can prove that the DA’s allegations against her regarding the Coffee County data breach are “incorrect” — an effort he says would be “prejudiced” by going to trial alongside Chesebro.

Chesebro faces seven counts, including two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree and two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings. According to the indictment, he allegedly conceived “multiple strategies for disrupting and delaying the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.”

Powell also faces seven counts, including two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud. She allegedly helped people tamper with ballot markers and machines inside an elections office in Coffee County, according to the indictment.

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