Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the Georgia election subversion case against former President Donald Trump and 18 other co-defendants, will hold his first hearing Wednesday afternoon amid questions of how soon a trial could begin.
In a break with the hearings in federal court and the New York charges against Trump, Wednesday’s 1 p.m. ET hearing will be broadcast.
The hearing could provide key insight into how much evidence Fulton County prosecutors have in their case against Trump and his allies who are accused of interfering in Georgia’s 2020 election results to try to flip the state away from Joe Biden.
McAfee, in a court filing, said he is interested in having Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s prosecutors provide a “good-faith estimate” for how long it would take to hold a joint trial for all 19 defendants, and how long it would take if the case is divided into subgroups of defendants. Specifically, he wants to know how many witnesses and exhibits prosecutors may produce.
As part of the hearing, McAfee will consider motions from pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell to separate or “sever” their cases from the other co-defendants, in hopes of getting a faster trial.
Both Powell and Chesebro invoked their right to a speedy trial, and if granted, this would break apart the case and allow their cases to go to trial as soon as October, per Georgia law. Trial dates for the other defendants could be scheduled for a later date.
All 19 defendants charged in the sprawling Fulton County racketeering case – including Powell and Chesebro – have pleaded not guilty and waived their right to an in-person arraignment.
Last week, Chesebro’s legal team filed a separate motion asking the Fulton County judge not to force him go to trial alongside his co-defendant Powell. In the filing, Chesebro’s attorneys said he never had “any direct contact or communication” with Powell and isn’t accused of participating in the same schemes as Powell.
Chesebro’s trial is currently scheduled to begin October 23. Willis has said she wants to keep the case together and hold one massive trial for all the defendants beginning in October.
Trump and many of his co-defendants oppose that speedy timeline and have filed motions to be separated from the case to delay the start of their trials beyond October.