Prospect Fading for Quick Start of Trump Georgia Trial

The upcoming trial set for the following month in Georgia, which includes former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants, appears to be losing its promise.

Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis’ goal of conducting a unified trial starting on October 23rd is facing challenges due to legal maneuvers that could delay proceedings, as reported by The Hill.

Five defendants seek to transfer their charges from state court to federal court, a process known as “removal,” which could potentially stall the case for several months. Among those attempting this tactic are former White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark. Three individuals, charged with falsely claiming to be Georgia’s valid electors, are also pursuing this strategy.

Notably, Trump’s attorney is considering following suit, as mentioned by The Hill. Although a federal judge denied Meadows’ request for removal to federal court recently, an appeal has been filed with the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. However, Judge Scott McAfee of the Fulton County Superior Court has expressed concerns that removals could thwart Willis’ plan to hold a state court trial next month, given the potential length of the appeal process.

McAfee noted during a hearing that it could take optimistically up to six months for the 11th Circuit to make a decision, as reported by The Hill. Furthermore, even after the 11th Circuit renders its decision, the losing party could further prolong the dispute by taking it to the Supreme Court.

Some legal experts believe that if one defendant’s request for removal succeeds, it could automatically impact the charges against the others.

Complicating matters further, two co-defendants, lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, have invoked their right to a speedy trial. The joint trial is scheduled to begin on October 23rd, according to The Hill.

Judge McAfee has indicated that he intends to establish a schedule after the parties submit new written briefs by Tuesday. He has already expressed skepticism about the likelihood of Trump and the co-defendants going to trial in October.

Meanwhile, attorneys for Ray Smith, a former member of Trump’s legal team in Georgia, have suggested dividing the 19 defendants into “manageable groups,” a proposal they plan to put forward after discovery in mid-September.

Given that each defendant is represented by different counsel and may have conflicting interests, it’s likely that tensions will rise as the trial date approaches, as The Hill reports. Some fake electors have also begun pointing fingers at Trump, further complicating the legal landscape. David Shafer, who chaired the Georgia Republican Party, blamed Trump in a petition to move the Fulton County case to federal court, asserting that he and other Republican Electors acted at the direction of federal officials.