Two Trump co-defendants spark first televised Georgia RICO court hearing

Georgia Election Investigation
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks in the Fulton County Government Center during a news conference on Monday, Aug. 14, 2023, in Atlanta. Former President Donald Trump and several allies have been indicted in Georgia over efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state. John Bazemore/AP

Two Trump co-defendants spark first televised Georgia RICO court hearing

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A Fulton County judge will hear Sidney Powell’s and Kenneth Chesebro’s arguments on Wednesday for severing their cases from each other and the 17 other co-defendants named in the indictment against former President Donald Trump in Georgia.

The hearing, which will be broadcast through Judge Scott McAfee’s YouTube page, will be the first time people can watch courtroom proceedings in the case remotely.


Powell and Chesebro, who both asked for speedy trials and were subsequently granted Oct. 23 start dates, have asked McAfee to try their cases independently of others.

McAfee wrote in his hearing notice that he expects Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to provide a “good-faith estimate” during the hearing of how long it would take her to present her case in court for all of the co-defendants should they all be tried together.

Willis will also reveal tomorrow, per McAfee’s order, an estimate of the number of witnesses and exhibits she plans to present overall in the case.

The hearing will replace what had initially been a busy day of arraignments, but as of Tuesday, every defendant had filed waivers for their arraignment appearances and pleaded not guilty to their charges.

Willis charged all 19 last month with racketeering violations, among other felonies, over their alleged illegal efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Some of the co-defendants, including Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, have filed to remove their case from state to federal court, which could carry a number of benefits for defense teams.

Any trial in federal court would require jury selection from a wider and more conservative pool than the immediate vicinity of Fulton County, and a federal judge would preside over the trial.

Additionally, federal courtroom rules would likely apply, meaning proceedings would not be televised.

A decision in Meadows’s removal case could come any day, and the judge’s ruling will signal to others, including Trump, how they might fare if they have already asked or plan to ask for removal.

Wednesday’s hearing is primarily expected to address Powell’s and Chesebro’s severance motions, just two from the growing pile of motions filed from different directions in the case.

In addition to various removal and speedy trial requests, Trump filed his own severance motion, stating that he opposed an October trial on the grounds that it would not allow enough time for his legal team to prepare.


Willis, for her part, wants to try all 19 co-defendants together in October, and her prosecutors are expected to make a case for that on Wednesday.

The hearing is set to begin at 1 p.m.

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