A Georgia judge on Wednesday set a trial date for so-called “Kraken” lawyer Sidney Powell on racketeering (RICO) and other charges she faces in Fulton County – and denied motions to sever her case from at least one of the other high-profile, pro-Donald Trump defendants.
In an omnibus hearing, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee denied separate requests by Powell and lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, known for co-authoring the infamous “coup memo,” to have their criminal trials held independently of everyone else.
“Based on what’s been presented today, I am not finding the severance from Mr. Chesebro or Ms. Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case,” McAfee said at the live-streamed hearing held in Atlanta.
The court slated trial to begin on Oct. 23.
Discovery in the case must be completed by all parties by Sept. 20. All motions in the case other than motions in limine must be filed no later than Sept. 27. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Sept. 29.
Both lawyers had filed requests for speedy trials – seeking to have their cases tried apart from the 17 other named co-defendants in the sprawling, 98-page, 41-count criminal indictment.
Through her attorney, Powell insists she has “no substantive connection” to any of the other defendants in the case.
In her motion to sever, she argued that “she did not agree with any of her purported coconspirators to do anything improper” and asserted she could “receive a fair trial only if she is tried alone.”
That trial, Powell suggested, could take place over just three days.
“Assuming the prosecution does not realize its error in indicting her and agree to dismiss this wrongful prosecution before trial immediately, Ms. Powell can be tried alone in three days at most and should receive a judgment of acquittal when the State rests,” the motion said.
During the hearing, attorneys for both Powell and Chesebro noted that they do not even know one another. The indictment charges them with participating in entirely separate schemes. Still, the court allowed the broad nature of the RICO statute to allow them both to be tried together.
Powell also faces significant monetary exposure in a civil lawsuit due to her post-2020 election legal work.
More Law&Crime coverage: ‘Kraken’ lawyer Sidney Powell warns of ‘significant dilemma’ if she has to face Smartmatic lawsuit at same time as Georgia RICO trial
The conservative attorney is known for a series of failed lawsuits and as a member of Donald Trump’s “elite strike force” legal team that intended to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
In late August, she surrendered to law enforcement in response to her RICO indictment on charges related to an alleged conspiracy to interfere with 2020 presidential election results in the Peach State.
The counts include alleged RICO violations, forgery, false statements, conspiracy to influence an election, perjury, and influencing witnesses charges over a series of efforts by Trump, his lawyers, and others to deny Joe Biden Georgia’s electoral votes.
“On or about the 6th day of December 2020, Sidney Katherine Powell entered into written engagement agreement with SullivanStrickler LLC, forensic data firm located in Fulton County, Georgia, for the performance of computer forensic collections and analytics on Dominion Voting Systems equipment in Michigan and elsewhere,” one of the sections of the indictment specifically focused on Powell reads. “The unlawful breach of election equipment in Coffee County, Georgia, was subsequently performed under this agreement. This was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.”
Powell faces seven counts related to her alleged dealings with SullivanStrickler LLC, her alleged role in the conspiracy to commit election fraud by tampering with voting machines, and for allegedly violating Georgia’s homegrown version of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, according to the indictment.
Left undone at the Wednesday hearing was whether or not all the other defendants will be tried together as well.
The 45th president has filed a motion to be tried separately from anyone who requests a speedy trial.
Various other motions in the case are pending.
But in withholding judgment on whether the full slate of those charged in the indictment will be tried at once – as Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wants to do – the judge audibly leaned against it.
“It sounds like the state is still sticking to the position that all these defendants should remain and they want to address some of these removal issues,” McAfee told the state. “I’m willing to hear that. I remain very skeptical, but… I’m willing to hear what you have to say on it.”
“It just seems a bit unrealistic to think we can handle all 19 in 40 days,” the judge added. “That’s my initial reaction.”
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