Trump wins severance in Georgia case

September 15, 2023
Matthew Boose

The judge overseeing Donald Trump's 2020 election trial in Georgia ruled that the former president will not go to trial in October with two other defendants.

The ruling is a modest win for Trump - and a setback for the Democrat prosecutor, Fani Willis, who wanted to try Trump and eighteen other defendants next month.

The judge - in a surprising victory for the rule of law and due process - rejected that extremely aggressive timeline, saying it would jeopardize due process.

Ruling in Georgia

The two other defendants to be tried in October are Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, two lawyers who aided Trump's election challenges in 2020.

After Powell and Chesebro invoked their rights to a quick trial, Willis pounced and asked for all 19 defendants to be tried in October.

But Judge Scott McAfee found that Willis' calendar brought serious issues, among them, that the court simply is not large enough to handle the case in one big trial. The judge warned further divisions may be necessary to break up the "Herculean task" before the court.

"The precarious ability of the Court to safeguard each defendant's due process rights and preparation ensures adequate pretrial preparation on the current accelerated track weights heavily, if not decisively, in favor of severance," he wrote.

Victory for Trump

Trump has blasted the probe in Georgia as part of a broader "witch hunt" designed to harm his presidential campaign.

"Fulton County DA Fani Willis’ politically motivated, wrongful attempt to deny President Trump due process of law by arguing that no severances should be granted has been summarily squashed by the court,” a spokesperson for Trump said.

“Willis’ unjust rush to judgment in order to please her radical political base has simply failed.”

Of the four indictments Trump faces, the Georgia case is the most ambitious. It accuses not only Trump, but 18 other "co-conspirators" of an "organized criminal enterprise" to overturn the 2020 election.

These "co-conspirators" include Trump's lawyers and those who represented Trump as alternate or "fake" electors.

Lawyers for Chesebro, charged with organizing the so-called "fake" electors, said he was "fulfilling his duty to his client as an attorney."

Powell, who was widely branded a conspiracy theorist for her vocal claims of election fraud in 2020, is accused of helping to breach election equipment in rural Coffee County, which voted for Trump. Powell has said county officials allowed access to the equipment.

The former chair of the Coffee County GOP, Cathy Latham, was charged as a "fake elector."

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