Georgia’s speedy trial law could affect Trump’s criminal case

Former Trump attorney Chesebro will get ‘speedy trial,’ scheduled on Oct. 23

Donald Trump and his 18 codefendants have surrendered in the Georgie election case; All but one are out on bond.

The final — Harrison Floyd — will be held behind bars until his bond is set.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wants to try all 19 co-defendants at the same time. However, a legal move by one of the defendants could negate that.

News4JAX spoke with legal experts about a request for a speedy trial.

The former president’s campaign attorney Kenneth Cheseboro — accused of orchestrating a scheme to send false electors to Congress for President Trump — was one of the first to surrender in Fulton County. His request means he is scheduled to go to trial in less than two months. And if that trial doesn’t start by Nov. 3, he’d be acquitted of all charges by Georgia law.

A lawyer not associated with this case said this move could create problems for the prosecution.

Chesebro is one of the first to go to court on RICO charges. His lawyers demanded a speedy trial, which according to legal experts, could result in big risks for the prosecution.

″It’s really interesting, did this defendant do this for himself?” Attorney Gene Nichols, a local lawyer who often appears in News4Jax stories and segments to provide legal insight on local and national cases, said. “Or did he do it for everybody? Because imagine if he goes through a trial, and he gets a not guilty, and how every defendant afterward is going to use that. He could absolutely be the TEST case.”

Nichols said prosecutors with district attorney Fani Willis’ office will have to lay out all the evidence in their case months before Trump would go to trial — essentially tipping their hand to what their legal arguments and strategy will be.

Nichols said Chesebro’s October trial, which may be televised live, also has the potential to taint potential jurors in Trump and the remaining 17 codefendants’ trial.

“Can you imagine how difficult it’s going to be in the state of Georgia and picking a jury for the next one, and the next one, and the next one?” Nichols said. “If the first jury comes back and says, not guilty?”

Nichols said on the flip side, if Chesebro is found guilty, defense lawyers for the other defendants will face the real fear that Trump and his codefendants could suffer the same fate. He said the call for a speedy trial could also result in additional grounds for an appeal.

“It does create the absolute possibility, that this trial will not be cleanly tried. And if it doesn’t get cleanly tried, and he gets convicted, that I’m sure there will be appellate issues to be addressed. But again, let’s not forget, if he’s found not guilty, what does that do?”

Nichols said there also remains the possibility that one or more of the codefendants in this case, could cooperate with the prosecution and testify against Trump in exchange for leniency from the court.

Kenneth Chesebros’ trial is scheduled for Oct. 23.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.