With less than a month to go before the first trial gets underway in the sweeping Georgia election interference case, prosecutors in the Fulton County district attorney’s office on Friday suggested they may extend some sort of plea offer to the two defendants set to stand trial.
Former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell and lawyer Kenneth Chesebro are scheduled to stand trial on Oct. 23 after a judge severed their cases from the 17 other defendants following the pair’s speedy trial requests.
Powell and Chesebro, along with former President Donald Trump and 16 others, have pleaded not guilty to all charges in a criminal racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia.
The possibility of an offer was raised Friday during a virtual status conference, when Judge Scott McAfee brought up “disposition without a trial” and asked if the state “is planning to convey any offers in this case?”
Prosecutor Nathan Wade responded that attorneys in the DA’s office “have not made an offer.” The judge then followed up, asking, “Is the state in the position to be able to make one in the near future?”
“Judge, I believe that we can,” Wade replied. “We’ll sit down and kind of put some things together and we’ll reach out to defense counsel individually to extend an offer.”
Chesebro is accused in the DA’s indictment of drafting a strategy to use so-called “alternate electors” to prevent Joe Biden from receiving 270 electoral votes during the certification of the 2020 presidential election. His attorneys have argued that the action was justified since Chesebro, in working for Trump, was “fulfilling his duty to his client as an attorney.”
Powell is accused of conspiring with other co-defendants to commit election fraud by allegedly encouraging and helping people tamper with ballot markers and machines inside an elections office in Coffee County.
Also during Friday’s hearing, Judge McAfee opened the door to the possibility that more defendants may join the Oct. 23 trial.
Earlier this month, when McAfee severed the 17 defendants from the speedy trial, he ordered that all the remaining defendants must waive their right to speedy trial or they will “immediately” join the Oct. 23 trial — but as of Friday, McAfee said, six defendants had still have not waived.
“I will be checking in with everyone today,” McAfee said of the defendants who have not waived their right to speedy trial. “Based on the feedback and the response we get, if it dramatically shifts the dynamic, we will make room. Perhaps instead of two tables, we’ll be getting three or four.”
“We’re taking it day by day,” McAfee said.
Among the other 17 defendants, Trump, attorney Rudy Giuliani and former Trump Chief of Staff Meadows have all waived their speedy trial rights.
McAfee also offered an initial timetable for the trial, indicating he expects it to take 3-5 months.