A legal analyst for CNN threw cold water on a trial timeline involving former President Donald Trump being sought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Late last month, Willis said she wanted Trump’s trial to begin in March — the height of the primary season. But CNN’s Elie Honig said there’s no chance of that happening.
“There is no planet on which this case will be tried in March due to the logjam that we just saw,” he told CNN host Anderson Cooper before going on to explain.
“Now we see all of these four different indictments, and they’re all jockeying for very limited trial space, but the D.A. has asked to try this in March,” he said. “First of all, there is an ongoing racketeering trial right now that the D.A.’s office is handling in Georgia. They are still choosing a jury, they’re seven months in. I know that sounds unbelievable, but state jury selection is way slower than in federal cases.”
“So, even if they start in March, they’d still be picking a jury on election day, so that is not happening. I understand what the D.A. is doing, she’s doing what prosecutors are trained to do. You always say, ‘We are ready to go, any day; we want to try everyone all together,’ but March is not happening for this case,” Honig continued.
Other legal experts agreed with the CNN analyst’s assessment for other reasons as well.
Michael J. Moore, a former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, went so far as to say that all 19 defendants Willis charged won’t be going to trial in the first place.
“There’s not a chance. There’ll be people who flip, who cooperate, plead out. There may be people she decides to get rid of because it complicates the case. I mean, there could be a number of reasons,” he said. “There won’t be 19 defendants sitting in the courtroom, and because there’s 19, that’s one of the reasons there’s no possible way that she’s gonna go to trial in March.”
“I mean, this is sort of a PR move, I think, on her part. I think it throws gas to Trump to say, ‘Look, why are they treating me different than every other criminal defendant in Fulton County? Why are they rushing my case?’” Moore added.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Trump has informed a state judge in Georgia that his client intends to try and move his case to a federal court.
“President Trump hereby notifies the Court that he may seek removal of his prosecution to federal court,” the brief notice from attorney Steven Sadow said. The notice added that Trump had 30 days from the date of his arraignment on racketeering charges stemming from actions taken after the 2020 election in the state to make the change of venue request.
When Trump waived his right to an arraignment hearing and pleaded not guilty on August 31, the 30-day clock started ticking.
If Trump is successful in having the state case transferred to federal court, he could gain several advantages. If he can persuade a judge that his alleged actions in the indictment were connected to his official duties as a government official, it will give him more opportunities to have the charges dropped.
The jurors will all be residents of Fulton County, which President Joe Biden won by a margin of 47 points if the case remains in federal court. The jury pool will be chosen from a 10-county area close to Atlanta that Biden won by 32 points, a smaller but still comfortable margin if the case is transferred to federal court, CNN reported.