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Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks at the Fulton County Government Center during a press conference on August 14, 2023 in Atlanta. Donald Trump and several allies have been indicted in Georgia over their efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta prosecutor who secured indictments this week against former President Donald Trump and 18 others plans to take the case to trial in March.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said in a scheduling order filed with the court Wednesday that she would like the trial to begin March 4.
That would cause the trial to begin the day before Super Tuesday, when most delegates are at stake in the primary race to decide the next Republican presidential nominee. Around 14 primaries are scheduled to take place across the country, from California and Texas to Massachusetts and Maine. Trump is currently the dominant leading candidate in his party.
Trump and 18 other people were indicted by a Fulton County grand jury on Monday. They are accused of committing various crimes to keep Trump in power after his election loss to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.
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Willis is also proposing that arraignment for the defendants take place the week of September 5th. She had already set a deadline of noon on August 25 for all defendants to present themselves at the Fulton County Jail to be booked. That seems to indicate that Trump and the others could make two trips to Georgia in the coming weeks, first for surrender and later for an impeachment hearing.
Trump’s Georgia-based legal team did not immediately respond to a text message seeking comment.
The relatively tight timeline Willis is proposing could be complicated by pretrial maneuvers by the defendants. On Tuesday, lawyers for former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows filed an expedited motion to move the case from state court to federal court. They said any actions he took were in furtherance of his role in the White House, suggesting the Constitution makes him immune from prosecution. A federal judge on Wednesday scheduled a hearing on the matter for Aug. 28.
There is widespread speculation that Trump and perhaps others may seek to take the case to federal court.
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The proposed order also proposes other deadlines for the case, including discovery and motion deadlines. Willis’ filing said she chose the dates “in light of defendant Donald Trump’s other criminal and civil cases pending in the courts of our sister sovereigns,” and stated that this schedule does not conflict with those already scheduled Hearings and trial dates in other courts.
Trump is scheduled to go on trial in New York as early as March in a separate case involving dozens of state charges of falsifying business records related to an alleged hush-money payment to a porn actor. He is scheduled to stand trial in May in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal case, in which he is accused of illegally hoarding classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate and thwarting government efforts to return them.
And Smith’s team is seeking a Jan. 2 trial date in the federal case over Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.
The sprawling Georgia indictment, which runs nearly 100 pages, uses the state’s racketeering law to accuse Trump and others of participating in a conspiracy and details dozens of actions they allegedly took to keep him in power.
Kate Brumback reports for The Associated Press.