Two Trump co-defendants in Georgia who requested speedy trials asked a judge Wednesday to formally separate their cases from the sprawling overall indictment, a move that would undercut Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ attempt to hold one massive trial for all 19 defendants in the election interference case.
Former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell and pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro separately asked the judge overseeing the case to “sever” their trials from the other defendants. If granted, this would break apart the case and allow their cases to go to trial as soon as October.
These are the first attempts in court by former President Donald Trump’s co-defendants to break apart the case. The motions filed Wednesday are part of the increasingly convoluted pretrial wrangling among Trump, his 18 co-defendants and Willis, who wants a trial for all 19 defendants to occur in October.
Powell and Chesebro, who both deny wrongdoing in the case, already invoked their right to a speedy trial, which would need to begin before early November, per Georgia law. Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee ordered Chesebro’s trial to begin October 23. Powell’s request is pending. Trump wants to slow things down and opposes that timeline.
Trump’s lawyers have also said they want to sever his case from the other defendants but haven’t yet filed a motion in court.
In the filing, Powell’s attorneys also argued that she “did not represent President Trump or the Trump campaign” related to the 2020 election because she never had an “engagement agreement” with either.
“She appears on no pleadings for Trump or the Campaign,” Powell’s attorneys wrote. “She appeared in no courtrooms or hearings for Trump or the Campaign. She had no contact with most of her purported conspirators and rarely agreed with those she knew or spoke with.”
Despite these assertions, Trump publicly announced in mid-November 2020 that he “added” Powell to his “truly great team” of lawyers working on the election. One week later – after she promoted wild conspiracy theories that millions of votes were flipped as part of an international anti-Trump scheme – the Trump campaign dropped her from the legal team and said she was “practicing law on her own.”
In an effort to distance Powell from the other Trump lawyers charged in the Georgia case, her attorneys pointed out that she “went her own way” after the 2020 presidential election and that “many of her purported coconspirators publicly shunned and disparaged Ms. Powell beginning in November 2020.”
In the filing, Powell’s attorneys also lauded her legal career and her commitment to “integrity” and “the rule of law.” They also amplified the debunked right-wing claim that her former client, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, was the victim of “charges completely concocted against him by a politicized FBI.”
Additionally on Wednesday, Chesebro’s attorneys asked the judge to force Willis to “disclose” the identities of the 30 unindicted co-conspirators named in the indictment. Chesebro, who was the architect of the Trump campaign’s fake electors plot, said he needs these names to help his defense.
Earlier this month, after the indictment was filed, CNN published a report identifying many of the unindicted co-conspirators based on public information that matches what was in the indictment.