Trump and all 18 co-defendants have now surrendered in Georgia election case

An attorney for pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, the architect of the Trump campaign’s fake 2020 electors plot, argued Wednesday that he should have a solo trial, without any co-defendants, in the Georgia election subversion case. 

The judge previously set an October 23 trial date for Chesebro and he is considering whether any of the 18 other defendants should go on trial jointly on that day as well. 

Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell also is seeking an October 23 trial date, but Chesebro attorney Scott Grubman said Wednesday that they should not be combined. He argued Chesebro’s alleged crimes are tied to the fake electors plot and Powell’s case is mostly about the breach of voting machines in Coffee County. 

If there is a joint Chesebro-Powell trial, “you’re going to have two cases in one. You’re going to have days if not weeks — God forbid months — of testimony just related to the Coffee County allegations,” Grubman said. 

Lawyers for Chesebro also said their client should be tried separately from Powell, in part, because the two have never met.

But two co-defendants who have never met can still be part of the same criminal enterprise under Georgia’s racketeering statute, known as RICO, the Fulton County prosecutors said.

“That is not a defense and not a ground for severance,” Will Wooten, a prosecutor with the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, stated plainly during Wednesday’s hearing.

Grubman acknowledged the broad nature of Georgia’s RICO law and that prosecutors are using it to build a conspiracy case against multiple defendants, including former President Donald Trump himself.

“I guess you can say the purpose is to elect Donald Trump president. But if that were the purpose, and a prosecutor could use a purpose of that magnitude to try to tie together charges and defendants that otherwise have nothing to do with each other, then before we know it … literally millions of people could have been charged in this conspiracy,” Grubman said.

The argument by Chesebro’s lawyers that he has never met Powell was part of an effort to distance their client from the former Trump attorney, who has also requested a speedy trial on criminal charges stemming from her alleged involvement in a voting system breach in rural Coffee County, Georgia.

Manny Arora, attorney for Kenneth Chesebro.
Manny Arora, attorney for Kenneth Chesebro. Pool

Manubir “Manny” Arora, another Chesebro attorney, said the allegations against Powell have “nothing to do with Mr. Chesebro.” There is nothing in the indictment that connects Chesebro to the Coffee County breach, though Powell and Chesebro were both accused of participating in the same criminal enterprise as part of the racketeering charge. 

Chesebro pleaded not guilty and denies devising the “fake electors” scheme. Powell also has pleaded not guilty.

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