Judge Tosses Sidney Powell Motion in Trump Georgia Case

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
September 6, 2023Trump Indictmentshare
Judge Tosses Sidney Powell Motion in Trump Georgia Case
Sidney Powell speaking during a press conference at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, on Nov. 19, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

A judge on Wednesday denied motions brought by Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, two co-defendants in former President Donald Trump’s Georgia case, to sever their cases from one another.

At a hearing Wednesday, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee rendered the decision after hearing arguments from defense attorneys and prosecutors, according to multiple local reports. It means that Mr. Chesebro and Mrs. Powell will be tried at the same time starting on Oct. 23.

“We plan to make that Oct. 23 trial date stand,” Mr. McAfee said during Wednesday’s hearing, adding that “we’re on an expedited timeline.” He added that arguments in favor of severing Mrs. Powell’s and Mr. Chesebro’s cases “really don’t seem to be at play here,” he said.

“Based on what’s been presented today, I am not finding the severance for Mr. Cheseboro or Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case,” the judge added.

Attorneys for the pair had not met the legal standard needed to separate each other from one another, the judge said. He also claimed the two trials would be lengthy and would block the court calendar, while being an inconvenience for jurors.

It’s not clear how the ruling will affect President Trump and other defendants in the case.

However, earlier, Mr. McAfee appeared to be skeptical of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ proposal to try all 19 defendants on Oct. 23, saying the suggestion, according to a live feed. “It just seems a little unrealistic to handle all 19 in 40-something days,” he told the court.

“Where does that leave us in the middle of a jury trial?” he asked, while adding: “It’s not easy, and we’ve got less than two months to figure this out.”

In court filings, Mrs. Powell had said that she wants to be tried alone. Mr. Chesebro also said that he doesn’t want to be tried with Mrs. Powell because their cases involve separate accusations. The two have both pleaded not guilty.

Last month, Ms. Willis charged the two and 17 other defendants, including President Trump, with racketeer violations and other felonies for their alleged illegal efforts after the 2020 election in Georgia.

‘Not the Driving Force’

A lawyer for Mrs. Powell, a former federal prosecutor who successfully represented retired Lt. Gen Michael Flynn, told the court Wednesday that she wasn’t the “driving force” behind an alleged breach of voting machines in Coffee County, Georgia. “The evidence is going to show they are incorrect” to target Mrs. Powell, said attorney Brian Rafferty, who added that “she was not the driving force behind that.”

Last week, she contradicted multiple claims made by Fulton County prosecutors in a court filing, saying most of the charges do not involve her and “fatally depend on demonstrably false premises.”

“There was no contract for SullivanStrickler to conduct forensic imaging of the Coffee County Voting Systems,” the filing stated, referring to claims from prosecutors that she entered a contract with SullivanStrickler, a forensic data firm, to copy information after the 2020 election.

“Ms. Powell signed no such contract. … Ms. Powell did not plan or organize the Coffee County trip. … Ms. Powell did not request SullivanStrickler to undertake that project,” the court document said. “A unanimous Coffee County Election Board gave permission for the forensic inspection, and nothing was stolen,” her filing also said.

Other than the Coffee County allegations, the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, in alleging she committed racketeering, made reference to post-2020 press conferences in which she defended President Trump and challenged the Fulton County election results.

Chesebro Lawyers Say Client Not Involved

Manny Arora, who represents Mr. Chesebro, claimed in court that his client wasn’t involved in the case that the Fulton County District Attorney’s office is alleging, describing Mr. Chesebro as a more rational individual. He then claimed that Mrs. Powell was fired from President Trump’s 2020 election team because of her public statements.

“Essentially—from what I understand from the public record—she was fired before this conspiracy actually even started up because she said something that was supposedly crazy and Trump people got rid of her,” the lawyer said of Mrs. Powell.

Lawyers for Mr. Chesebro argued that he and Mrs. Powell have never met one another. However, prosecutors said that the fact doesn’t mean they cannot be charged under Georgia’s racketeering laws.

“That is not a defense and not a ground for severance,” Will Wooten, a prosecutor with the Fulton County District Attorney’s office, said Wednesday, according to reports.

He added: “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.”

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.