Over the past several days, numerous defendants in the “Trump 19” racketeering case in Fulton County have filed motions to sever their trials from numerous other defendants. Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro don’t want to be tried with each other. Rudy Giuliani doesn’t want to be tried with Sidney Powell. Donald Trump doesn’t want to be tried with any of them. The list goes on and on.
It’s enough to make you look at it all and think, “What a mess!” You might even find yourself worried that it’s all too complicated, and that it might end up falling apart. So now is probably a good time to stop and remember two things. First, Fani Willis knows what she’s doing as a prosecutor. Second, she wanted things to play out this way.
Willis could have indicted these defendants individually or in small groups. Instead she made the strategic decision to charge all nineteen of them together in one racketeering indictment. Se’s built, tried, and won plenty of racketeering cases before. She knows what happens when you indict this many people jointly. The scrambling that we’re seeing by all these defendants is what Willis wanted to happen.
So why is this kind of chaos good for the prosecution? Keep in mind that none of these filings by the defendants are going to work. No matter how many severance motions they file, these defendants are still going to end up tried together, either in one big group of nineteen, or perhaps divided into a couple of clusters. There aren’t going to be more than two or maybe three trials in the end. We know this from how Georgia RICO trials always play out.
Furthermore, none of these filings are going to delay the trial start dates, because the Georgia courts have handled plenty of RICO cases before. The courts aren’t going to melt down under the pressure simply because a group of naive defendants are filing a bunch of pointless notions. Yes, it’s the defendants who are being naive. None of them appear to have any familiarity with how RICO cases work (which is remarkable given Giuliani’s history). They appear to think that the elementary school level tactics they’re using are somehow magically going to catch everyone by surprise. If these defendants weren’t evil traitors against the United States, you’d almost feel bad for how naive they are.
What we’re really seeing right now is these idiot defendants overplaying their hands, and in the process, showing their hands. They’re not going to magically get Fani Willis’ racketeering case divided into nineteen different trials, or ten trials, or five trials. That’s not how racketeering trials work. All these defendants are doing is giving their attorneys a whole lot of billable hours for no gain. And in the process, they’re revealing just which of their co-defendants they’re most afraid will take down the whole ship, and why.
This in turn will help Fani Willis to determine which of these nineteen defendants are the most ostracized from the rest of the group, and thus the most likely to succumb to being pressured into flipping on the others.
This is all just how racketeering cases work. Prosecutors swing a big hammer and send the defendants flailing in a thousand directions, making it easier – not harder – to take them down. Everything you’re seeing play out in this Fulton County case, just remember that Fani Willis wanted it to play out this way. This frantic, panicked series of filings by the defendants isn’t helping the defendants. It’s helping the prosecution.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report