Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, two defendants in the Georgia racketeering case against former President Trump and others, will be tried together in October, a judge said Wednesday, adding that he doubted Trump would see his day in court so soon. Making his first ruling from the bench in the trial on charges that 19 co-defendants conspired to overturn the 2020 presidential election in Georgia, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee rejected arguments by Powell and Chesebro that it would be unfair for them to be tried in a single proceeding, which the judge set to begin Oct. 23, the Wall Street Journal reports. Having separate trials would be inefficient and a burden on jurors, McAfee argued. “Based on what’s been presented today, I’m not finding that severance for Mr. Chesebro or Ms. Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant,” the judge said. Powell and Chesebro exercised their right under Georgia law to a speedy trial but each sought to be tried individually.
Both Chesebro and Powell argued their charges stem from a small fraction of the broader alleged conspiracy and their rights to a speedy, fair trial would be infringed upon by having to wait through weeks or months of testimony on other parts of the case. Chesebro is alleged to have “assisted in devising and attempting to implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors.” On Nov. 18, 2020, Chesebro sent a memo to GOP party officials in his home state of Wisconsin, the earliest-known proposal to nominate fake electors, which he then worked to replicate nationwide. Powell, a former federal prosecutor from Texas, is accused of a more active role in the alleged conspiracy. In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 18, 2020, Powell urged Trump to have voting machines seized. She also later helped direct efforts in Georgia to investigate election results, a probe that prosecutors allege amounted to a security breach in Coffee County. She quickly became the public face of efforts to cast doubt on the results.