Judge dashes DA Willis’ plans | Trump, 16 others to be tried separately

Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell get their cases severed from nation’s 45th president, others indicted in Atlanta.
The ruling was made on Thursday.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 9:43 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:45 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The judge overseeing the Georgia 2020 election racketeering case ruled Thursday morning Donald Trump and 16 co-defendants in Fulton County’s vast racketeering indictment against the former president will be tried separately from two other defendants in the case.

In a blow to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who was seeking to hold a single trial for all 19 people named in her indictment, Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro will be severed from the overall indictment.

Chesebro and Powell are both former Trump campaign attorneys.

Powell and Chesebro had filed demands for a speedy trial, and McAfee set their trial to begin Oct. 23. Trump and other defendants had asked to be tried separately from Powell and Chesebro, with some saying they could not be ready by the late October trial date.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis last month obtained an indictment against 19 people charging them under the state’s anti-racketeering law.

Attorneys for Chesebro and Powell are requesting to speak with the grand jurors who handed up the indictment. They’re also asking the judge to unseal transcripts from witnesses who testified before the special grand jury that recommended criminal charges. And they’re asking for the names of people described by prosecutors as unindicted co-conspirators in the case.

The hearing comes one day after Willis’ office filed a brief in response to a question from McAfee as to whether Chesebro and Powell should be separated from the other 17 co-defendants.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Powell filed a motion requesting all of the charges against be dismissed.

In the brief, prosecutors said all 19 defendants should be tried together and that the state will be ready to try the full case on Oct. 23, which is the date Chesebro and Powell are set to go on trial. Also in its brief, the DA’s office wrote that if defendants are tried separately, defendants who are tried last would have the advantage of seeing all of the state’s evidence and arguments in advance.

It’s possible the judge will address the matter of severance at Thursday’s hearing. This is a developing story.

Atlanta News First and Atlanta News First+ provide you with the latest news, headlines and insights as Georgia continues its role at the forefront of the nation’s political scene. Download our Atlanta News First app for the latest political news and information.