Donald Trump and many of his co-defendants plan an attempt to plunge the Georgia election interference case into chaos, according to a report Wednesday.
The former president intends to ask for his case to be separated from the others, and his legal advisers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell have already requested the same. Fulton County judge Scott McAfee has already approved an Oct. 23 trial date for Chesebro.
“Moving for a speedy trial here is a very clever strategy,” Atlanta defense attorney Andrew Fleischman told Salon. “It is a much easier way to get a severance from the other co-defendants, which means less spillover from the evidence against them, as well as a shorter, more affordable trial.”
Chesebro and Powell may be hoping to catch Willis “off of balance” by requesting trials as soon as possible, said Caren Myers Morrison, a former assistant U.S. attorney in New York and associate professor of law at Georgia State University
“Requesting a speedy trial in basically two months is pretty aggressive,” Morrison said. “I assume that their hope is that she won’t quite be ready… That’s usually the reason why people want a speedy trial. It’s because they think they have a better chance to force the prosecution into some kind of disarray.”
Prosecutors are already at somewhat of a logistical disadvantage by bringing such a sprawling case against so many individuals, including a former president.
“The biggest disadvantage is that there just aren’t that many prosecutors in Fulton County who have the training and experience to try a case this big and unusual in the face of well-funded opposition,” Fleischman said. “The RICO count is broad enough that Willis can still tell the whole story in each courtroom if she chooses. The problem will be having enough bodies to do that well in parallel state and federal proceedings.”
Breaking up the cases into individual trials also puts Willis and her office at a disadvantage because they would have to recycle evidence and witnesses, which gives defense attorneys a preview of what their client’s trial might look like – but that also puts more pressure on Trump’s co-defendants to go first.
“If Fani Willis gets three convictions with three defendants, that will put a lot of pressure on all the remaining defendants,” Morrison said. “If she can put this away quickly, that’ll strengthen her hand considerably. But, If they all get acquitted, that would be bad. It’s really going to depend on what happens.”