Fulton County DA Makes New Filing In Election Cases

Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis requested on Tuesday that all 19 defendants charged in a massive racketeering case involving meddling in the state’s 2020 election have their cases expedited.

Judge Scott McAfee of Fulton County Superior Court moved up the defendant’s trial date from May to October after defendant Kenneth Chesebro requested a speedy trial in the case.
In that ruling, McAfee stated that Chesebro is the only party affected by the decision to proceed with an October trial date “at this time.” Willis pushed back against that decision in a Tuesday court filing.

“The State of Georgia respectfully requests that the Court set aside its Case Specific Scheduling Order entered on August 24, 2023, to the extent that the Order states, ‘[a]t this time, these deadlines do not apply to any co-defendant,’” Willis wrote in the filing.

“At an absolute minimum, the Court should set Defendant Powell’s trial and that of any other defendant who may file a speedy trial demand on the same date as Defendant Chesebro’s,” Willis wrote.

The cases must be tried before the end of two court terms following their arraignments, according to Georgia’s speedy trial laws. On September 6, each defendant will be formally charged and be given the opportunity to enter a plea.

Sidney Powell, a former Trump campaign attorney, also called for a swift trial, but McAfee has not yet scheduled a date for her case. It is unclear how Powell’s decision to waive her arraignment and enter a written plea of not guilty to all charges will affect the progress of her case.

As she has maintained since announcing charges earlier this month, Willis said on Tuesday that her office’s position that “severance is improper at this juncture and that all Defendants should be tried together” is still in effect.“The Fulton County district attorney also asked the court to set a deadline for defendants wishing to sever their cases from the rest of the defendants, allowing time for the parties to brief the issue and hold a hearing on it. The defendants, which include former President Trump, face a combined 41 charges asserting they joined a criminal enterprise to subvert the state’s election results so Trump could stay in power after losing the 2020 election,” The Hill reported.

“If McAfee approves Willis’s request, the trial could become the first Trump will face. In the former president’s other three criminal matters, he has two trials set for March and a third set for May,” the outlet added.

The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee is pressing DA Willis to provide details regarding her prosecution of Trump.

“Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated,” says a letter sent to Willis by the committee.

The panel lashed out at Willis for appearing to politicize her prosecution of the former president.

“Turning first to the question of motivation, it is noteworthy that just four days before this indictment, you launched a new campaign fundraising website that highlighted your investigation into President Trump,” the letter goes on to say.

“Additionally, the forewoman of the special grand jury you convened to investigate President Trump earlier this year bragged during an unusual media tour about her excitement at the prospect of subpoenaing President Trump and getting to swear him in,” the letter continued.Last week, the Fulton County Superior Court’s Clerk publicly released a list of criminal charges against President Trump reportedly hours before the vote of the grand jury,” the letter goes on. “A Fulton County court has disqualified you from targeting current Georgia Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones as part of your probe on the grounds that you actively supported and held fundraising events for his Democratic opponent.

“And unlike officials in other jurisdictions, Fulton County officials ‘have suggested [they] will process [the former President] as [a] typical criminal defendant, requiring mug shots and possibly even cash bond,’” which happened, the letter noted further.

Jordan then lashed out at Willis over the timing of the indictment.

The timing of this prosecution reinforces concerns about your motivation,” the letter said. “In February 2021, news outlets reported that you directed your office to open an investigation into President Trump. Indeed, sometime on or around February 11, 2021, your office purportedly sent a letter to several Republican officials in Georgia, requesting that they preserve documents relating to a ‘matter . . . of high priority’ that your office was investigating.

“Yet, you did not bring charges until two-and-a-half years later, at a time when the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is in full swing. Moreover, you have requested that the trial in this matter begin on March 4, 2024, the day before Super Tuesday and eight days before the Georgia presidential primary,” the letter adds. “It is therefore unsurprising many have speculated that this indictment and prosecution are designed to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.”

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