Atlanta

Election interference trial could take 4 months, have 150 witnesses, prosecutors say

ATLANTA — A Fulton County judge denied a request from two defendants implicated in Georgia’s election interference investigation to be separated from the rest of their 17 defendants.

A judge decided Wednesday that Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell could have their trials next month, but they must also have their trials together.

Everyone is also waiting to see what the federal court rules are as far as removing Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows from state court and if that means all 19 defendants would move over.

But for now, Chesebro and Powell’s cases will remain in Fulton County Superior Court and they will be tried together.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was in the courtroom Wednesday as Judge Scott McAfee took almost no time deciding the cases will be tried together on Oct. 23.

“I’ll deny Mr. Chesebro’s motion to sever from Mrs. Powell,” McAfee said.

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Chesebro was one of the legal architects of the false electors scheme. Powell was once Trump’s attorney and is directly connected to the break-in at the Coffee County elections office.

Both are indicted under Georgia’s RICO Act as being part of a vast conspiracy to overturn Georgia’s election.

Powell and Chesebro did not appear Wednesday, but their attorneys asked for separate speedy trials and argued their two cases were too different for them to be tried together.

“Mrs. Powell had nothing to do with most of it. Mrs. Powell had nothing to do with false statements to state legislators. Mrs. Powell had nothing to do with false statements to high-ranking government officials. Mrs. Powell had nothing to do with false electoral college documents,” Powell’s attorney Bill Rafferty told the court.

But the state explained that their case could take four months and involve 150 witnesses, so it wasn’t economical to try everyone separately.

“The court, in the interest of judicial economy, would have to make the decision as to whether or not it wants to try the same case 19 times or two,” prosecutor Nathan Wade said.

After the judge ruled Powell and Chesebro would be tried together, Chesebro’s attorney spoke with Elliot.

“Obviously, we’re a little bit disappointed. We filed a motion, and it was denied. However, we respect the court’s ruling. We’re preparing for our trial in October,” Chesebro’s attorney Scott Grubman said.

That one federal court decision is still hanging over everything involved in this case.

If District Judge Steve Jones removes Meadows’ case to federal court, all 18 other defendants could follow, making Wednesday’s decision potentially moot.

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