Fani Willis, the District Attorney of Fulton County, has filed a court document on Thursday, requesting a trial date of October 23, 2023 to try former President Donald Trump and 18 of his supporters for contesting the 2020 election.
Willis cited a request made by Kenneth Chesebro, a co-defendant of Trump, on Wednesday, where he urged for a swift trial according to Georgia’s Speedy Trial Act. Last week, Willis had informed the media that she intended to commence a trial within six months when the indictment was announced.
Legal professionals at that time expressed skepticism about this timeline, particularly considering Willis’s intention to have a joint trial for all 19 defendants. Attorneys representing Trump and his co-defendants have hinted at the likelihood of pre-trial disputes that could prolong the proceedings. Notably, three defendants are already seeking a venue change to federal court, and it’s anticipated that the former president will pursue a similar course of action.
A parallel extensive case brought forward by Willis, involving allegations against Jeffrey Williams, the rapper known as Young Thug, and associates for violating Georgia’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law – a central charge in the Trump case – has faced sluggish progress toward trial. Despite Williams’s attempt to assert his right to a speedy trial, the legal process has been gradual.
Jury selection for this case commenced in January 2023, more than 18 months after the charges were initially brought. The process of jury selection is ongoing and has extended beyond six months.
On Thursday, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, pressing the Democratic prosecutor to clarify details surrounding her indictment of former President Donald Trump and his allies.
The letter states, “Your indictment and prosecution implicate substantial federal interests, and the circumstances surrounding your actions raise serious concerns about whether they are politically motivated.”
“Turning first to the question of motivation, it is noteworthy that just four days before this indictment, you launched a new campaign fundraising website that highlighted your investigation into President Trump,” the letter notes. “Additionally, the forewoman of the special grand jury you convened to investigate President Trump earlier this year bragged during an unusual media tour about her excitement at the prospect of subpoenaing President Trump and getting to swear him in.”
“Last week, the Fulton County Superior Court’s Clerk publicly released a list of criminal charges against President Trump reportedly hours before the vote of the grand jury,” the letter continues. “A Fulton County court has disqualified you from targeting current Georgia Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones as part of your probe on the grounds that you actively supported and held fundraising events for his Democratic opponent. And unlike officials in other jurisdictions, Fulton County officials ‘have suggested [they] will process [the former President] as [a] typical criminal defendant, requiring mug shots and possibly even cash bond.”
Jordan’s letter goes on to note the suspect political timing of the indictment.
“The timing of this prosecution reinforces concerns about your motivation,” the letter adds. “In February 2021, news outlets reported that you directed your office to open an investigation into President Trump. Indeed, sometime on or around February 11, 2021, your office purportedly sent a letter to several Republican officials in Georgia, requesting that they preserve documents relating to a “matter . . . of high priority” that your office was investigating.”
“Yet, you did not bring charges until two-and-a-half years later, at a time when the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is in full swing,” the letter notes. “Moreover, you have requested that the trial in this matter begin on March 4, 2024, the day before Super Tuesday and eight days before the Georgia presidential primary. It is therefore unsurprising many have speculated that this indictment and prosecution are designed to interfere with the 2024 presidential election.”
However, it now appears that the target trial date for the Fulton County D.A. is to begin the trial in October.