Between his four indictments and numerous civil trials, Donald Trump is likely to spend a lot of time in court in 2024. The prosecutor in one of his cases is pushing for the trial to start before the end of 2023.
Donald Trump: In Court Forever?
According to a filing in the case from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, prosecutors are pushing for the trial of all 19 defendants in the Georgia RICO case to begin on Oct. 23, 2023, less than 60 days from now.
“The State of Georgia, through Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis, respectfully requests that this Court specially set trial in this case to commence for all 19 defendants on October 23, 2023,” the filing says, as first noted on X/Twitter by Politico reporter Kyle Cheney.
Willis said on the day of the indictments that she planned to try all 19 defendants together. The request this week came in response to a demand by one of the defendants, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, for a speedy trial.
Politico found the timetable unlikely, given the “torrent of anticipated pretrial motions and complex legal issues likely to be litigated before a jury can be seated.” At least three of the defendants, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have moved to have their cases shifted to federal court.
In a filing later in the day, attorneys for the former president indicated that they are not on board with the trial beginning so quickly.
“President Trump respectfully puts the Court on notice that he opposes the State’s ‘motion for entry of pretrial scheduling order’ and ‘motion to specially set trial,’” the filing says. “President Trump also alerts the Court that he will be filing a timely motion to sever his case from that of co-defendant Chesebro, who has filed a demand for a speedy trial, or any other co-defendant who files such a demand.”
Attorney Steve Sadow, newly added to Trump’s team in the Georgia case, also called for a scheduling conference “at its earliest convenience so he can be heard on the State’s motions for entry of pretrial scheduling order and to specially set trial.”
In his other cases, Trump’s attorneys have pushed to not have the proceedings scheduled up against the GOP primary and caucus calendar. An October trial start would, of course, put the trial before the start of voting in the 2024 cycle, but it would also raise the possibility of Donald Trump being convicted of a crime before Iowa and New Hampshire.
“Legal experts at the time said that timeline was not plausible, especially as Willis has also indicated she’d like to try the 19 defendants all together,” CNN said of Willis’ originally stated intention to start the trial within six months.
“Lawyers for Trump and his co-defendants have previewed the likelihood of pre-trial disputes that will drag the proceedings out. Already three defendants are seeking to move the case to federal court, and the former president is expected to launch a similar bid of his own.”
CNN also noted that another large racketeering trial prosecuted by Willis — the one involving the rap artist known as Young Thug — has moved very slowly, with jury selection taking place more than 18 months after the charges were first filed, while the trial itself has dragged on for more than six months.
The network’s legal correspondent, Elie Honig, said on CNN Thursday that forcing all of the codefendants to go along with one candidate’s motion for a speedy trial “may raise constitutional issues.”
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Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.
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