The case in Georgia against former President Donald Trump appears to be backfiring on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. On Thursday, she faced a setback when she was prevented from jointly prosecuting former President Donald Trump along with his 18 co-defendants.
Additionally, prosecutors have announced their intention to disclose the names of 30 unindicted co-conspirators to the defense teams of all 19 co-defendants.
ABC News brought in their editorial producer John Santucci to delve into the implications of this decision. Santucci, while discussing the unfolding events, remarked that this was not a favorable day for the Fulton County District Attorney’s office. He commented, “Fani Willis wasn’t there, but you’ve got to imagine, Diane, she’s throwing things against the wall based on this hearing.”
Santucci further elaborated on the challenges the prosecutors now face. “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.”
“This is everything they wanted, was to take more time and slow this down.”
The decision to sever the cases and the subsequent delay in proceedings could have significant implications for the overall trajectory of the case.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled that the case against President Trump will not happen in October as previously expected, granting motions from Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell to separate their cases from other co-defendants. Both will see their cases tried together starting on October 23rd.
The ruling is a blow to DA Willis, who wanted to try all 19 co-defendants at once.
“The Fulton County Courthouse simply contains no courtroom adequately large enough to hold all 19 defendants, their multiple attorneys and support staff, the sheriff’s deputies, court personnel, and the State’s prosecutorial team,” McAfee wrote.
The decision by Judge McAfee was not a surprise to court observers who noted last month that he grimly noted the ability of DA Willis to handle her ambitious case. “It just seems a bit unrealistic to think that we can handle all 19 in 40-something days,” he said.
At the same time, Willis is fighting requests by at least five co-defendants including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to have their cases removed from state courts and into federal jurisdiction. Earlier this week a judge denied Meadows’s first attempt to do so, but his case continues in appeals court.
Should any defendant be successful in moving to federal court, McAfee noted that DA Willis’ entire legal strategy could quickly fall apart.
“Where does that leave us in the middle of a jury trial?” McAfee said. “Is double jeopardy attached? Have you now risked your entire prosecution because this case has now been removed to federal court? And we’ve sworn in a jury that has been presenting evidence against all these other co-defendants.”
Trump has maintained his innocence on charges that he attempted to subvert the results of Georgia’s 2020 election. House Republicans have begun talks to investigate DA Willis, as have local lawmakers in Georgia who have taken the first step toward impeachment.
Trump has also promised to raise millions of dollars to assist his fellow co-defendants.