Trump’s Georgia codefendant wants case tossed over paperwork error

Kenneth Chesebro is one of several Trump attorneys charged in Fulton County election fraud case

John Bowden
Washington DC
Thursday 05 October 2023 16:45 EDT
Michael Cohen tells Trump's Georgia co-defendants to 'speak now'

An attorney for Donald Trump is hoping a Hail Mary legal maneuver will allow him to escape criminal charges stemming from the Trump team’s effort to overturn the 2020 election.

Kenneth Chesebro, one of several former attorneys for Mr Trump charged by Fulton County prosecutors with breaking the law as part of that effort, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him based on a technical error — the apparent failure of one of the special prosecutors on the case to go through an official swearing-in process before they began work for the prosecution.

It’s an error that one Georgia legal expert noted to ABC News will likely be a meaningless factor in the case, given that the state’s Supreme Court has ruled that such an error would not invalidate the entire indictment against Mr Chesebro or any of Mr Trump’s other codefendants.

Nevertheless, it’s a sign of the desperation that many of Mr Trump’s allies are feeling as the criminal proceedings against them have grown exponentially more tangible in the past few months. The legal fees are already putting serious strain on a number of the former president’s inner circle, including others charged in the Georgia case such as Rudy Giuliani.

Sidney Powell, another Trump attorney and Georgia codefendant, sought unsuccessfully to have her case dismissed on Thursday.

In a hearing Thursday afternoon in Fulton County, Ms Powell’s attorneys argued that the case against her should be dismissed for a similarly weak reason: An alleged failure by prosecutors to respond to emailed discovery requests regarding specific information sought by the defence. Her attorneys argued that the terabytes of data handed over by the state were insufficiently organised.

A judge in her case ruled against that, but reminded the prosecution to comply with basic discovery requests. No specific order regarding information that had yet to be turned over to the defence was ordered, though the judge encouraged prosecutors to provide contact information for witnesses in a timely fashion.

Mr Trump himself is at the centre of four separate criminal prosecutions. In addition to his upcoming trial in Georgia, where he’s accused of pressuring local officials to change the election results in his favour, he’s accused of crimes at the federal level stemming from his bid to alter the election results as well as two other investigations into an alleged hush money scheme and his handling of US defence secrets at Mar-a-Lago and other properties.

Finally, there’s new reporting out this week indicating that prosecutors in Arizona have begun looking at the Trump campaign’s efforts to change the election results in that state too. It isn’t certain yet whether Mr Trump himself or merely his network of allies are under investigation for their actions in Arizona.

One of Mr Trump’s Georgia codefendants, bail bondsman Scott Graham Hall, pleaded guilty to charges of illegally accessing voting machines in Coffee County last week. He has agreed to testify in future proceedings related to the Trump campaign as part of his plea agreement.

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