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Trump, 16 others to be tried separately from Powell, Chesebro

Trump has sought to delay his other criminal cases as he aims for a 2024 White House comeback.
Trump waives right to a speedy trial in Georgia election case
Posted at 6:05 AM, Sep 14, 2023

A judge in the Georgia election subversion trial ruled that former President Donald Trump and 16 other co-defendants will be tried separately from Trump's former attorneys, Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro.

The news comes after Trump waived his right to a speedy trial.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wanted to try Trump and his 18 co-defendants at the same time, starting in late October.

Trump filed the speedy trial waiver first, with Willis' office later filing a brief arguing for a joint trial due to efficiency and fairness concerns. She says multiple, drawn-out trials would "create an enormous strain" on the courts and her office and give defendants who wait an advantage.

Several other defendants filed similar waivers of their speedy trial rights on Wednesday, with some of them saying they won't be ready by next month.

And on Thursday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee cited the tight schedule, among other concerns, as the reason to separate Trump and 16 others from Powell and Chesebro's trial. 

“The precarious ability of the Court to safeguard each defendant’s due process rights and ensure adequate pretrial preparation on the current accelerated track weighs heavily, if not decisively, in favor of severance,” McAfee wrote. 

McAfee also suggested that the group could be further divided into smaller groups for trial.

SEE MORE: Judge denies Mark Meadows' bid to move Georgia case to federal court

Powell and Chesebro, who had requested speedy trials weeks ago, will have their trials start on Oct. 23.

There's no set date for the rest of the trials yet, but under Georgia law, a defendant who requests a speedy trial is entitled to have it start in either the same or the next two-month court term. Fulton County's court terms start on the first Mondays of January, March, May, July, September and November.

Meanwhile, the judge in Trump's classified documents case out of Florida is putting limits on how and where the former president can talk about classified evidence in the case.

Judge Aileen Cannon issued an order Wednesday granting a request from the prosecution to set rules on how the evidence would be handled and discussed.

That includes appointing a classified information officer who would monitor Trump's lawyer's access to the documents.

The former president has pleaded not guilty to charges of mishandling classified records after leaving the White House and working with two employees to interfere with government efforts to recover the documents.

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