Updated Aug 24, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Fani Willis proposes October 2023 trial date for Trump, co-defendants

Former President Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Aug. 13.

Former President Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey, on Aug. 13. Photo: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday called for an earlier start date for the election interference trial of former President Trump and his 18 co-defendants.

Why it matters: Willis previously proposed March 4, 2024, as a start date, but after co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro demanded a speedy trial earlier this week, she called his bluff and requested that the trial begin on Oct. 23, 2023.

The latest: A Georgia judge just hours later on Thursday approved Willis' proposal, but only for Chesebro. The trial date for the other 18 defendants has not changed with the judge's approval.

  • Trump opposed the proposed trial date in a filing on Thursday, and his attorney, Steven Sadow, said he would soon file a motion to sever the former president's case from Chesebro's because of the speedy trial demand.

Catch up quickly: The nineteen co-defendants were charged over their alleged efforts to overturn the state's 2020 election.

  • Among them is Chesebro, a Trump campaign legal adviser who is believed to be the first attorney to suggest that slates of fake pro-Trump electors could try to get recognized by Congress on Jan. 6 to overturn the state's actual election results.
  • He faces seven charges, including two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery in the first degree and two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings.
  • Several co-defendants have already surrendered.

Between the lines: Chesebro's speedy trial demand and the approval of his new trial date may create a major headache for Willis, as it could be an attempt to scuddle her intention to prosecute all 19 defendants together, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Of note: The new proposed trial date, which is less than two months away, would come just days after the start of the civil fraud case against Trump, the Trump Organization and his elder children brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

  • The trial is set to commence on Oct. 2, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.
  • Then around three months later on Jan. 15, 2024 — the same day as the Iowa caucuses — Trump is set to be on trial in writer E. Jean Carroll's defamation case against him.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional developments.

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