FULTON COUNTY, Ga. — Attorneys appeared in court Wednesday for the first televised hearing after a grand jury last month indicted 19 people — including former President Donald Trump — following a yearslong investigation into interference in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
Cameras were allowed in the courtroom for the first time in any of the cases involving Trump, who also faces separate charges in Florida, New York and Washington, D.C. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott F. McAfee earlier told WSB-TV that proceedings in the Georgia case will be streamed live to the public through a Fulton County-provided YouTube channel.
In court, a prosecutor from the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said that a joint trial for all 19 of the defendants in Georgia would take about four months and include around 150 witnesses. Prosecutors aim to try the case as one.
Wednesday’s hearing opened with arguments over whether to sever the cases against attorney Kenneth Chesebro, who is seeking a speedy trial, and attorney Sidney Powell. Last month, McAfee scheduled Chesebro’s trial to begin in October following a proposal from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Willis had asked that all 19 of the defendants involved in the case face trial in October, but McAfee only expedited Chesebro’s case after Trump’s attorney indicated that he objected to the proposed timeline, Politico reported.
In court on Wednesday, McAfee declined to sever either Chesebro or Powell’s case.
“Based on what’s been presented today, I’m not finding the severance from Mr. Chesebro or Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case,” he said.
Last month, a grand jury handed down indictments to Trump, Chesebro, Powell and 16 others following a sprawling investigation into interference in the 2020 presidential election. Authorities accused Trump and his co-conspirators of racketeering to change the outcome of the 2020 election in Trump’s favor.
The former president lost Georgia to President Joe Biden by 11,779 votes, WSB reported.
Also facing charges are former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Trump attorneys Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing, framing the investigation and others delving into his conduct as politically motivated as the 2024 race for the White House heats up.
In Florida, prosecutors have leveled a slew of charges against the former president for his handling of classified records after federal agents recovered more than 100 classified documents from his Mar-a-Lago estate last year. Two of his aides have so far also been charged in connection with the investigation.
In Washington, Trump faces four federal charges related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including the Jan. 6, 2021, violence at the U.S. Capitol. In the indictment, authorities referenced six co-conspirators, though they have not been charged in connection with the investigation.
A grand jury in New York also indicted Trump on dozens of charges of falsifying business records in March. The state’s attorney general, Letitia James, has also sued Trump, members of his family and his Trump Organization, accusing them of fraud.
Trump announced last year that he is running for the Republican nomination in the 2024 presidential race. Several polls have identified him as a front-runner.
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