Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said Wednesday he is “very skeptical” of District Attorney Fani Willis’s plan to put former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants on trial in October.
In August, Willis proposed a trial date of October 23, 2023, for all 19 defendants. However, McAfee said he’s skeptical and called the schedule “a bit unrealistic.”
“It seems a bit unrealistic that we could handle all 19 in 40-something days. That’s my initial reaction,” McAfee said.
Georgia prosecutors estimated a trial for all 19 defendants would include testimony from 150 witnesses and take four months to complete. McAffee ordered Georgia prosecutors to respond to his concerns about the October trial date by Tuesday, after which he will decide on the trial date for the other 17 defendants.
On Wednesday, Judge McAfee set former Trump lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell’s trials for October 23 after those two expressed their rights to a speedy trial.
“We’re certainly here, ready and willing to provide both defendants that right, and we’re planning to make that October 23 trial date stick,” McAfee said during Wednesday’s hearing.
However, McAfee denied Chesebro and Powell’s request for their cases to be severed from one another.
On Thursday, Willis sent a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), accusing him of attempting “to interfere with” her case against Trump after he demanded she turn over all documents related to the prosecution of the former president and 18 of his allies.
“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,” Jordan wrote in his late-August letter to Willis.
Willis said Jordan’s letter made clear he lacks “a basic understanding of the law, its practice, and the ethical obligations of attorneys generally and prosecutors specifically.”
“Its obvious purpose is to obstruct a Georgia criminal proceeding and to advance outrageous misrepresentations,” Willis wrote of Jordan’s letter. “As I make clear below, there is no justification in the Constitution for Congress to interfere with a state criminal matter, as you attempt to do.”
Willis also pushed back against Jordan’s threat to investigate the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office’s use of federal funds.
“If you and your colleagues follow through on your threats to deny this office federal funds, please be aware that you will be deciding to allow serial rapists to go unprosecuted, hate crimes to be unaddressed, and to cancel programs for at-risk children,” Willis wrote. “Such vengeful, uncalled for legislative action would impose serious harm on the citizens we serve, including the fact that it will make them less safe.”