Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport after surrendering at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Aug. 24, 2023.
Joe Raedle | Getty Images
An Atlanta judge on Wednesday rejected a motion for separate trials for two co-defendants of Donald Trump, in a case where they are accused with the former president and 16 others of a criminal conspiracy in trying to reverse Trump’s loss in the 2020 election in Georgia.
Judge Scott McAfee said that as of now, he plans to start trial for Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell on Oct. 23. Both defendants, who had requested speedy trials in their cases, are attorneys.
McAfee left open the door — slightly — to grant a request by prosecutors to hold a joint trial for Trump and the 18 co-defendants in the case.
“It sounds like the state is still sticking to the position that all these defendants should remain and they want to address some of these removal issues,” McAfee said during a hearing in Fulton County Superior Court.
“I’m willing to hear that. I remain very skeptical,” the judge said as he gave the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office time to submit a legal brief justifying the joint trial.
“But … I’m willing to hear what you have to say on it.”
Earlier in the hearing, a prosecutor told McAfee that holding a joint trial for Trump and the other defendants would take four months to complete, with testimony from potentially more than 150 witnesses.
Lawyers for Chesebro and Powell had asked for separate trials for them by arguing that their alleged conduct that led to the criminal trials was not connected to each other.
Trump is separately charged in federal court in Washington with crimes related to his effort to reverse President Joe Biden’s win in the national presidential election in 2020.
Five other defendants in the Georgia case besides Chesebro and Powell have filed motions asking McAfee to sever their trials from those of co-defendants.
Several defendants have asked that their cases be transferred to federal district court in Georgia, among them former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.