In a serious blow to the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, Judge Scott McAfee of the Superior Court of Georgia ruled that former President Donald Trump will not be required to stand trial in October alongside co-defendants Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell. The defendants had filed a “speedy-trial” motion for which McAfee granted relief by severing both Chesebro and Powell from Trump and the remaining sixteen defendants.
This ruling is seen as a major setback for the prosecution against Trump, whose legal team has now waived any rights they may have had to a speedy trial motion, and have also filed several motions to dismiss the charges against him.
The news was met with shock and surprise on social media, where ABC News reported Kyle Becker, host of “Relentless Podcast,” tweeting: “This is not a good day for the Fulton County DA.” As this case continues to unfold in court proceedings, many are eager to see how it will ultimately affect the future of former President Donald J. Trump.
“Fani Willis wasn’t there, but you got to imagine… she’s throwing things against the wall based on this hearing,” ABC News Executive Editorial Producer John Santucci told audiences.
He added that the ruling is “a great win for Donald Trump and others that did not want to be part of this speedy trial case.”
“I can tell you, sitting here with you, just texting with some of the attorneys involved in the other defendants, celebrating ‘Yay, victory!’” Santucci added.
"This is not a good day for the Fulton County DA."
"Fani Willis wasn't there, but you got to imagine… she's throwing things against the wall based on this hearing."
"A great win for Donald Trump and others that did not want to be part of this speedy trial case."
"I can tell… pic.twitter.com/cfhiw7DpFS
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) September 14, 2023
In motions for the former president, Trump’s attorneys reportedly pressed a similar legal argument to one employed by former Trump attorney, now co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro. The attorneys representing him called the indictment from Wills “a conspiratorial bouillabaisse consisting of purported criminal acts, daily activities, and constitutionally protected speech.”
Chesebro’s team asked Judge McAfee to dismiss the entire case on the basis of the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, arguing that the states cannot rule in controversies that lie in federal authority or “entirely within the ambit of federal authority.”
As noted previously by Conservative Brief, “Cornell Law School says the Supremacy Clause ‘establishes that the federal constitution, and federal law generally, take precedence over state laws, and even state constitutions.’”
NBC reported Thursday, “In adopting the motion to dismiss, Trump’s lawyers said Chesebro’s constitutional argument applied to the racketeering and other conspiracy-related charges against Trump. It was one of two Trump filings Monday that pertained to Chesebro’s earlier motions.”
The outlet added, “Attorneys for Trump took a similar approach Monday in adopting an earlier motion filed by former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani that would affect seven of the counts against Trump.”
In another blow to the efforts to prosecute Trump, Elie Honig, a legal analyst for CNN, even observed that the motion for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to recuse herself from Trump’s Jan. 6 case may have merit.
Honig told CNN that Trump’s request is an “extreme longshot” legally but added that, given Judge Chutkan’s prior comments, it’s “not an outrageous motion.”
The motion for recusal was brought about by remarks made by Judge Chutkan during the sentencing of those convicted of being part of the Capitol attack on January 6. Trump’s legal team claims that these comments show a possible bias against the former president.
Honig told host Poppy Harlow, “So this is an extreme longshot, legally speaking. But you can see where Donald Trump’s coming from. It’s not an outrageous motion when you see various statements that Judge Charlton has made in the course of handling the prosecutions and sentencings of other January 6 rioters.
“She has said things that seem to pretty clearly suggest that she believed years ago Donald Trump should have been charged, should have been held accountable. And she was essentially making the point at these sentencings that, yes, you’re being prosecuted, rightly so, for storming the Capitol, but more responsible people are not,” Honig added.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.