Judge Skeptical As Prosecutors Claim Trump Georgia Trial Could Take Four Months

Authored by Jack Phillips via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A Georgia choose dealing with the trials of former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants seemed to be skeptical of prosecutors’ proposals to deliver all of the co-defendants collectively for a trial beginning subsequent month.

“It just seems a bit unrealistic to think that we can handle all 19 in forty-something days,” Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee instructed the court docket in a Wednesday listening to with reference to motions to sever that had been introduced by co-defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell. The choose denied the request to separate the 2 circumstances.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 24, 2023. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

During the listening to, prosecutors estimated the trial would take 4 months and that they’d name greater than 150 witnesses. “That is our time estimate,” prosecutor Nathan Wade instructed Judge McAfee through the listening to, which was additionally broadcast stay on tv and on the choose’s YouTube channel.

But Mr. McAffee instructed prosecutors that he believes the trial would take twice that—or eight months. “It could easily be twice that,” he mentioned, noting the variety of defendants within the case.

“We’re on an expedited timeline with these statutory speedy trial demands,” Judge McAfee mentioned, whereas including that he plans to press ahead and “make that October 23 trial date stick” for Mr. Chesebro and Mrs. Powell. It’s not clear when the other co-defendants will go to trial.

The judge also suggested that any trial he conducts could be rendered moot if a defendant successfully appeals to a higher court. Already, a federal judge held a hearing in former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who is charged in the case.

“It could potentially even be a six-month turnaround just for the 11th Circuit to come up with a decision,” Judge McAfee said of the appeals process. “Where does that leave us in the middle of a jury trial?” the judge asked.

Mr. Wade, who provided the four-month estimate, said that did not include jury selection and added that whether or not defendants choosing to testify could affect timing. But he said he expects a trial to take that long regardless of how many defendants it includes, arguing that because the trial was brought under Georgia’s anti-racketeering law prosecutors would seek to prove the entire conspiracy against each defendant.

Another prosecutor, Will Wooten, argued that under the state’s RICO—or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—statute, the defendants should be tried together. All 19 defendants were accused of participating in the alleged scheme under Georgia’s RICO law last month.

Anytime a person enters into a conspiracy they are liable for all of the acts of all of their co-conspirators, and that’s it. Evidence against one is evidence against all, and that’s it,” Mr. Wooten said.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee presides over a hearing regarding media access in the case against former President Donald Trump and 18 others at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Ga., on Aug. 31, 2023. (Arvin Temkar/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

The hearing was also broadcast live on television and on the judge’s YouTube channel, a marked difference from the other three criminal cases against Trump, where cameras have not been allowed in the courtroom during proceedings.

Whenever and wherever any trial in the case ultimately takes place, jury selection is likely to be a significant challenge. Jury selection in a racketeering and gang case brought last year by Ms. Willis began in January and is still ongoing. In another large racketeering case, Ms. Willis tried nearly a decade ago against former Atlanta public schools educators, it took six weeks to seat a jury.

On Tuesday, Ms. Willis’ team asked the judge to allow the use of a jury questionnaire that prospective jurors would have filled out before they show up for jury selection, writing in a court filing that it “will facilitate and streamline the jury selection process in many respects.”

Prospective jurors may be more comfortable answering personal questions on paper than in open court and lawyers for both sides could agree that certain jurors aren’t qualified without additional questioning, prosecutors said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Meadows was in federal court last week arguing that he was acting in his capacity as a federal official and his case should be heard by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has yet to rule on that request. Four other defendants who are also seeking to move their cases to federal court have hearings set before Jones later this month.

As for President Trump, the former president on Wednesday told radio host Hugh Hewitt that he would “completely” testify in one of many 4 trials in opposition to him. He was charged in separate circumstances in Georgia, New York, Florida, and Washington, D.C., pleading not responsible to all the costs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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