ATLANTA — After dueling filings between Georgia election RICO defendant Kenneth Chesebro and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' resulted Thursday in the DA's request for an aggressive October trial start, Donald Trump has weighed in - essentially asking the court: "Hold up."
Attorneys for Trump submitted opposition to the speedy trial motions, and told the court the former president would intend to sever his case from Chesebro and any other defendant similarly demanding the speedier trial timeline.
"President Trump also alerts the Court that he will be filing a timely motion to sever his case from that of co-defendant Chesebro, who has filed a demand for speedy trial, or any other co-defendant who files such a demand," the filing states. "President Trump further respectfully puts the Court on notice that he requests the Court set a scheduling conference at its earliest convenience so he can be heard on the State’s motions for entry of pretrial scheduling order and to specially set trial."
The flurry of legal activity comes ahead of Trump's expected surrender Thursday evening at the Fulton County Jail.
In her filing, DA Willis requested an Oct. 23 start date to the trial - roughly five months ahead of her previous request for March 4.
The previous day, Georgia attorney Chesebro made his formal speedy trial demand. Willis' request, however, was written to apply to all 19 defendants.
Willis filed her response in such a way that she was not necessarily in agreement with Chesebro's justification for a speedy trial, but nonetheless signaling a willingness to accommodate it.
"Without waiving any objection as to the sufficiency of Defendant Kenneth John Chesebro's filing, the State requests that this Court specially set the trial in this case to commence on October 23, 2023, which falls within the term of the 'next succeeding regular court term' after the July-August, 2023 term of the Superior Court of Fulton County, Atlanta Judicial Circuit."
Speedy trial demands are not unusual - Young Thug's attorney filed at least two in that RICO proceeding.
It's less common for the kind of expedited trial timeline Willis proposed to actually become a reality.
Melissa Redmon, a University of Georgia Law professor and former Fulton County prosecutor, told 11Alive last month that the pretrial process was likely to get drawn out in this case - noting the incentive for Trump, in particular, to want this to go past at least next year's election.
"You have the election cycle coming up, so their motivation would be to not have to deal with this until later on, so I think it would be more pretrial motions, appeals of however those motions - whichever way the judge rules on those motions - so that would lend to a delay before you even get to jury selection," she said.
Redmon added there were several complicated steps to work through.
"You'll see the pretrial motions to dismiss, and attorneys stating why the case should be dismissed, so those should be the initial motions and then if the case survives, then motions on what type of evidence is admissible or should be excluded, so then those get litigated," she said. "All that would happen before you actually get to scheduling when the trial would occur."