Georgia Judge Rejects Trump Prosecutors’ Request in Election Case
In a significant blow to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a federal judge agreed with former President Trump’s legal team and ruled the 18 co-defendants in the case could not be tied together with Trump’s prosecution.
Willis, who has been charged with exercising political bias and moving forward with the case on weak grounds, attempted to see Trump and 18 co-defendants convicted on a rarely used RICO charge.
A RICO or racketeering charge allows all defendants to be prosecuted as co-conspirators in an extremely broad manner. In RICO cases, all defendants share responsibility for the various charges, regardless of their personal role in the matter.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee also ruled the case against Trump will not commence in October as Willis demanded.
McAfee also granted motions from Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell to separate their cases from other co-defendants.
“The Fulton County Courthouse simply contains no courtroom adequately large enough to hold all 19 defendants, their multiple attorneys and support staff, the sheriff’s deputies, court personnel, and the State’s prosecutorial team,” McAfee stated in his ruling.
Trending politics reported that Willis is “fighting requests by at least five co-defendants including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to have their cases removed from state courts and into federal jurisdiction.”
Meadow’s request was denied recently, but his legal team is in the process of appealing the decision.
Interestingly, according to Trending Politics, McAfee noted that should an appeals court allow defendants to move their case to a federal court, “Willis’s entire legal strategy could quickly fall apart.”
“Where does that leave us in the middle of a jury trial?” McAfee said during his ruling. “Is double jeopardy attached? Have you now risked your entire prosecution because this case has now been removed to federal court? And we’ve sworn in a jury that has been presenting evidence against all these other co-defendants.”
McAfee rejected Willis’ arguments to prosecute all defendants together, saying: “The Court joins the skepticism expressed by several federal courts that denying severance always ensures efficiency, especially in ‘mega trials’ such as this.”
The judge warned Willis to expect additional rejections of her arguments saying it is “a procedural and logistical inevitability” that co-defendants would be separated.
The Conservative Brief published a legal expert Glenn Kirshner’s take on why co-defendants have an interest in seeing their cases separated from one another.
Kirshner was asked: “What is the basis of arguing that severance in a case like this is improper?”
“So … anytime we indict a co-defendant case, the prosecutors have a keen interest in keeping all defendants in the same trial. The defendants ordinarily have a keen interest to try to get themselves removed from, or severed out, of the joint trial.
“Why is that? Because any time co-defendants are tried separate from their fellow co-defendants — and I’ve had this happen many times as a prosecutor — they will make what they call ‘the empty chair defense.’
“So I can almost promise you that one of, for example, defendant Chesebro’s defenses, if he is sitting there, either alone or maybe with Sidney Powell and one or two other co-conspirators, charged co-defendants, I can almost see him saying, ‘You know what? John Eastman, the constitutional scholar, the law school Dean, who should be sitting in that empty chair right there, but he’s not. He is the true architect behind the alternate electors scheme because he assured me there was legal support for it,’” Kirshner continued.
President Trump has maintained his innocence in all four indictments and has vowed to raise millions of dollars to assist co-defendants.