Fani Willis’ Case Against Trump Officially Doomed?

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The ongoing election interference trial in Fulton County, Georgia, led by Fani Willis, may influence subsequent trials connected to Donald Trump, a legal expert notes.

Willis has announced her decision to jointly try the 19 individuals indicted in her investigation of alleged illicit efforts to reverse the 2020 election results. She’s hinted at initiating these proceedings around October 23.

Among those indicted are ex-Trump attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, both of whom are striving to be tried separately. All defendants, including Trump, have entered a plea of not guilty.

A forthcoming hearing will be conducted by Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee to decide if Chesebro and Powell can proceed with separate trials. The judge has tasked Willis to provide a realistic duration estimate for the joint trial, detailing potential witnesses and evidence volume.

Commenting on a platform previously known as Twitter, Harry Litman, ex-Deputy Assistant Attorney General, reflected on Willis’ challenges in estimation, noting her prior significant RICO trial spanned several months.

Litman observed that if Willis predicts a timeline similar to past trials, it could disrupt the scheduling of other trials. “A reminder – the prior RICO case related to educators took about 8 months. A similar forecast would complicate things; otherwise, people would wonder why the timeline is so different,” he commented.

Trump has three other trials set for 2024. On March 4, he faces charges related to the January 6 Capitol incident. On March 25, Trump is up against 34 charges in New York linked to alleged fraudulent record-keeping related to payments made to Stormy Daniels. By May, Trump will be defending himself in Florida over claims of unlawful possession of classified documents post-presidency. He denies all allegations in these trials.

It remains to be seen if the timelines for any of the planned trials will be adjusted due to Willis’ large-scale case or if the Georgia trial might be postponed until the other trials conclude.

Willis’ RICO trial’s timing could significantly influence the 2024 presidential elections. If convicted, frontrunner Trump might face a sentence even before potentially retaking the presidency.

Being a state case, the Georgia trial doesn’t allow Trump the federal pardon option if he assumes presidency again. Yet, he might employ legal routes to push back his sentencing, banking on the possibility of evading jail time as president.

Regarding a president being convicted for pre-presidential actions, Eric J. Segall, a law and Constitution expert at Georgia State University College of Law, mentioned, “This is uncharted territory. The Constitution and case law offer little guidance. It’s unpredictable.”