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The Georgia prosecutor leading the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and 14 remaining co-defendants requested a trial date of Aug. 5, 2024, in a motion filed Friday afternoon.
The filing to Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said two criminal trials against Trump in federal court are scheduled for March and May, respectively, making an August start in the Georgia case “unlikely.” these other processes.”
The filing does not mention new uncertainty about one of those cases, a federal case in Florida accusing Trump and others of misusing classified documents. While the case is still scheduled for May, U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon said last week that she would revisit the case’s deadlines in early March.
The Fulton motion also sets a final plea hearing date of June 21, after which prosecutors will no longer consider negotiated plea agreements with the defendants. It also argues against any consideration before that date of splitting the case into multiple trials based on the number of defendants – and notes that prosecutors will argue vigorously against splitting at all. To date, four of the original defendants have accepted negotiated plea agreements.
Since all defendants were charged under Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, the same evidence would have to be presented for each.
Citing federal precedent, the filing said, “It would undermine both the efficiency and fairness of the criminal justice system to require prosecutors to pursue separate trials, present the same evidence over and over again, and require victims and witnesses to be inconvenienced.” to repeat (and…). sometimes a trauma), testifying and arbitrarily favoring the most recently indicted defendants who have the advantage of knowing the prosecution’s case in advance.”
The request is sure to draw strong objections from the defendants — particularly Trump, the Republican presidential candidate who, if nominated, would have to sit in an Atlanta courtroom day after day in the final weeks of the general election campaign. and possibly on Election Day itself and into 2025.
Steve Sadow, Trump’s lead attorney in the Georgia case, filed a motion later Friday objecting to the proposed trial date and “requesting the opportunity to make oral arguments against the motion at a hearing at a time convenient to the court.” “”
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, criticized the move, saying: “Radical Democrat Fani Willis has once again proven that her case is purely political and aimed at harming President Trump’s re-election by blocking a trial date in the United States.” “Calls for a crucial time in President Trump’s victorious election campaign.”
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The government’s motion, personally signed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, makes no mention of next year’s election calendar. But in an appearance at The Washington Post on Tuesday, Willis pushed back against the idea that a person who commits a crime should not be held accountable because he or she is running for office.
“When I make decisions about lawsuits, I don’t take into account an election cycle or an election season,” Willis said. “That’s not included in the bill. What goes into the calculation is: This is the law. These are the facts. And if the facts show that you have broken the law, charges will be filed,” Willis said.
She added: “It would be a really sad day if, while you are being investigated for this shoplifting charge, you were able to stand for council and the investigation was dropped. This is stupidity on every level. ”
Fulton County Prosecutor Fani T. Willis said Nov. 14 that the expected trial over alleged election interference by Trump and his allies could last until 2025. (Video: The Washington Post)
In this interview at The Washington Post Live’s Global Women’s Summit, Willis (D) acknowledged that the expected trial could be underway on Election Day 2024 and possibly as late as Inauguration Day.
“I believe there will be a trial in this case. I expect the process to take many months. And I don’t expect us to be done until winter or very early in 2025,” Willis said.
In the filing Friday, Willis wrote, “This proposed trial date balances potential delays in defendant Trump’s other criminal trials in sister states and the other defendants’ constitutional rights to a speedy trial.”
The sweeping indictment against Fulton, which was unsealed in August, accused Trump and 18 co-defendants — including Rudy Giuliani, his former personal attorney; Mark Meadows, his former chief of staff; former Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark; and former Georgia GOP Chairman David Shafer — of a wide-ranging conspiracy to steal the 2020 election.
The charges fall into several categories of alleged criminal conduct: the Trump presidential election gathering in Atlanta; Trump’s pressure campaign asking several Georgia state officials to help overturn his defeat; a voting equipment violation in rural Coffee County, Georgia, looking for evidence of fraud; and harassment of two local poll workers in Fulton County who were falsely accused of counting fraudulent ballots on election night. The case is independent of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into interference with the federal election, against which only Trump has so far been charged.
Holly Bailey in Atlanta contributed to this report.
Trump election case in Georgia
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