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DA Fani Willis’ Case Against Trump At Risk Of Being ‘Blown Apart’

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Fani Willis, the Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney saw intense scrutiny applied to her by Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee regarding the length of her upcoming trial.

At a hearing Wednesday McAfee heard motions from former Trump attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell as to whether they can have their cases severed and tried apart from Trump and the other fifteen defendants.

McAfee has ordered Willis to provide a “good faith” estimate of how long she expects the presentation of her case for all 19 defendants may take, the number of witnesses she intends to call, and the quantity of evidence she intends to present, according to Newsweek.

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman stated in a series of posts to X, formerly Twitter that the Fulton County DA could encounter a serious issue given that far simpler major RICO trials for example, one involving dozens of teachers in Atlanta accused of cheating standardized testing was a months-long endeavor.

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He wrote, “If Willis comes in with an estimate along the lines of previous trials—8 months or more—it will basically blow to smithereens the scheduling of the various trials. And hard to see how she can provide a ‘good-faith’ estimate that’s way lower than the previous teacher RICO.”

In a follow-up thread hours later Litman explained:

“A little preview of a couple important points for tomorrow’s hearing before Judge McAfee on severance motions from Trump and Chesebro:

1. Judge has told Willis she’ll need to give a good-faith estimate of how long her case will take. Recall that the best precedent — RICO for teachers — took some 8 months to try (and months before to pick a jury). If she gives a similar estimate, everything gets blown apart; if she doesn’t, the question will be why this one so much shorter.

2. Important to note the difference between severance on the one hand and speedy trial or removal on the other. Willis is right that severance doesn’t follow and absent a successful severance motion, the 19 stay joined (or at least the non-removed of the 19, which I think will be all 19 or possibly but not likely 18 minus Meadows)

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And the arguments that the motions to sever have advanced so far–not enough time to prepare (Trump); I had nothing to do w/ Powell (Chesebro) are not valid bases for severance under the law. Seems to me McAfee has to finesse this and not clear exactly how he will. Big hearing.”

McAfee after expressing he was “very skeptical” that both Trump and all 18 co-defendants could be tried as soon as next month gave Willis’ team of prosecutors just ten days to explain to the judge how they “could possibly keep these defendants together,” according to Reuters. Given the massive quantity of legal questions pending alongside the looming specter of a speedy trial deadline in October for those defendants who have demanded one, it seems as Chesebro lawyer Scott Grubman told reporters, “There can’t be a trial of 19 people.”

The outlet reported that McAfee ruled Powell and Chesebro could be tried separately from the other defendants but not from each other, despite the two having never met, and their attorneys arguing it is unfair to combine their trials due to their unrelated allegations.

Per Reuters, several of the co-defendants have made similar motions to sever, and others, notably Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who saw his initial motion denied, have asked to have their cases removed to federal court. Some including former President Donald Trump have presented motions in opposition, on the basis that an October trial gives them insufficient time to prepare their cases.

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