The prosecutors of the electoral subversion case in Georgia involving former President Donald Trump said Wednesday that a trial would likely last four months.
Special prosecutor Nathan Wade's estimate came during a hearing Wednesday before Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on two of the defendants' attempts to be tried separately. The hearing was broadcast live on television and on the judge's YouTube channel, a marked difference from the other three criminal cases against Trump, where cameras have not been allowed in the courtroom during the proceedings.
Wade said the estimated length of the trial did not include jury selection and said the state would call more than 150 witnesses.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, used state law last month against organized crime to obtain a sweeping 41-count indictment and said he wants to try to the 19 accused together. But the legal maneuvering that has already begun in the three weeks since the indictment was issued underscores the logistical complexity inherent in such a sprawling indictment with so many defendants.
Some of the defendants are already trying to speed up the process, some are trying to separate themselves from the other defendants in the alleged conspiracy and some are trying to move the charges against them from state court to federal court. All of them have pleaded innocent.
It was not immediately clear when the judge would rule on the compensation request.
Lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell have filed demands for a speedy trial, meaning their trials should begin in early November. Each of them has also filed a request to be tried alone. Several other defendants have also asked to be tried separately or in small groups, and Trump, one of the first favorites in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has asked to be tried separately from anyone who files a speedy trial demand.
After Chesebro filed a speedy trial demand just over a week after the indictment was announced, Willis asked that a trial date for all 19 defendants be set for October 23. The judge set the trial to begin that day only for Chesebro.
Meanwhile, Trump's White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was in a federal court last week arguing that he was acting in his capacity as a federal official and that his case should be heard by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has not yet ruled on that request. Four other defendants also seeking to move their cases to federal court have hearings scheduled before Jones later this month.
Whenever and wherever the case is ultimately tried, jury selection will likely be a major challenge. Jury selection in a racketeering and gang case filed last year by Willis began in January and is still ongoing. In another big racketeering case Willis tried nearly a decade ago against former Atlanta public school educators, it took him six weeks to empanel a jury.
Willis' team on Tuesday asked McAfee to allow the use of a jury questionnaire that potential jurors would have completed before showing up for jury selection, writing in a court filing that it "will make the jury selection process easier and faster." jury selection in many aspects. » Potential jurors may feel more comfortable answering personal questions on paper than in a public hearing and attorneys for both sides could agree that certain jurors are not qualified without additional questioning, prosecutors said.