A trial date has already been set for one of the 19 defendants in the Georgia election interference indictment – and it has been scheduled on an expedited basis.
On Thursday, a judge in Georgia signed off on the court date for Kenneth Chesebro, who has been charged for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia. He’s one of 19 defendants in the sweeping indictment, which includes former President Donald Trump.
Chesebro’s court date has now been set for October 23.
The announcement of this court date came right after one of the attorneys who was newly appointed to represent Trump in his Georgia case said he’d try to sever his client’s case from any co-defendant who tried to get an expedited trial date, which Chesebro has now succeeded in doing.
Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney whose office led the investigation into the matter, had requested of Judge Scott McAfee that all defendants in the indictment have their court dates set for October 23.
This request came following Chesebro’s demand that he receive a quick trial. According to Georgia law, that gave Willis and her office until October’s conclusion to start the case against him.
Before that demand was made, Willis had proposed that the trials for every defendant in the case shouldn’t start until early March of 2024. That timeline has now been quickly expedited.
In his ruling on Thursday, McAfee said that the trial date of October 23 would apply only to Chesebro at this point. The expedited timeline for both the pretrial proceedings and the trial itself “do[es] not apply to any co-defendant,” he said.
It isn’t clear at this point when McAfee could make up his mind regarding the trial dates for the other 18 defendants in the case.
With how complex this case is, and with how many separate defendants there are, it’s very likely that lawyers for the defense teams will push back against the expedited timeline. Trump’s team, in particular, is expected to ask for a trial date that is way far out in the future.
The former president is facing three other major criminal cases – two at the federal level and one at the New York state level. In all three of those cases, his legal team has requested that the trials not start until after the presidential election is held in November of 2024.
Trump is, of course, the leading Republican candidate for president at this point.
On August 23, Chesebro filed a “demand for speedy trial” in his case. He is a lawyer who is considered to be a top Trump ally. In response to Chesebro’s request, Willis wrote:
“Without waiving any objection as to the sufficiency of defendant Kenneth John Chesebro’s filing, the state requests that this court specifically set the trial in this case to commence on October 23, 2023.”
In a statement, Chesbro’s lawyer, Scott Grubman, said his client “maintains his innocence and remains confident as the legal process continues.”