OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
A former prosecutor and legal expert have both stated that the indictment of former President Donald Trump in Georgia was unnecessary and contributed to the claims of a “pile on” by the Democratic Party.
Elie Honig was responding to the news that Fulton County, Georgia’s newly elected Democratic District Attorney Fani Willis had filed charges against Trump, Newsweek reported.
According to Honig, Trump has already been indicted on federal charges for allegedly plotting to steal the 2020 election in seven states, one of which is Georgia.
Willis released a 98-page indictment in August, charging Trump and 18 others with a total of 41 felonies. All the accused were hit with the maximum 20-year sentence for racketeering. After having his mugshot taken at an Atlanta jail in late August, Trump pleaded not guilty.
Speaking on the legal podcast, “Cafe”, Honig said the Georgia charges are “unnecessary and, if anything, lend fuel to Trump’s claims…that this is just a Democratic Party pile on.”
Honig said that Special Counsel Jack Smith, who was appointed by the Department of Justice, has already charged Trump with an “effort to steal the election nationwide and in seven states in particular, including Georgia.
“So why is [the Atlanta indictment] in the greater good and why is it promoting public confidence in the fairness of this [process] to have one of those seven state prosecutors pile on with a charge of her own? I don’t think it serves any greater good,” he said.
He claimed it was a partisan indictment by Willis.
“I disagree with the exercise of prosecutorial discretion by an elected county prosecutor, a partisan, with a D [for Democrat] next to her name. I think it makes Trump’s chances of being convicted and punished higher if that’s the only goal here. If that’s the only goal, all seven states: Michigan, New Mexico, and on down the line, should be charging him too but that would be ludicrous,” Honig said.
When asked by MSNBC if the charges were politically motivated, Willis had previously said that everyone must be held to the same standards.
A new analysis of DA Willis’ sprawling indictments against Trump and 18 co-defendants may prove to be too heavy of a lift for her.
A. R. Hoffman, an associate editor for the New York Sun, noted that an allegation made by former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, one of the indicted — that “serious constitutional concerns” have been raised over her prosecution of him — “could upend District Attorney Fani Willis’s sprawling racketeering case before it achieves liftoff.”
That led Hoffman to speculate: “Could her prosecution be too big to function?”
He added: “In choosing to indict 19 defendants on 41 charges, Ms. Willis went big in prosecuting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the Peach Tree State. It is a scale to which she claims to be accustomed — a racketeering trial of public school teachers netted 35 defendants, 12 of whom were tried together. Now, though, court filings show Ms. Willis fretting over a “logistical quagmire” and, Cassandra-like, alerting the presiding state court judge, Scott McAfee, to the “unavoidable burdens on witnesses and victims” should he splinter her sprawling case. The government’s position is that, like Isaiah Berlin’s hedgehog, it can try one large case, but not many smaller ones.”
Meadows is attempting to get his case removed to a federal court, and although a U.S. district court judge struck down that request earlier this month, Meadows’ legal team has filed an appeal, arguing that the allegations filed against him come from actions he engaged in as a federal employee.
The former chief of staff and congressman from North Carolina seeks to convince the 11thc Circuit Court of Appeals that removal is proper because his “case involves the Chief of Staff to the President, not an oil or tobacco company or some other individual.” The higher court is set to hear his arguments via Zoom on Friday, Hoffman noted.
His legal team also argued that Meadows did not go “down to Georgia in his private capacity and got in some kerfuffle.” Rather, he argues that Willis’ indictment is a criminal prosecution “based on actions taken in the White House while discharging his official duties.” Meadows goes on to add that the district court’s rebuff of his case for removal was “completely wrong” and marred by “erroneous pronouncements.”
Willis, meanwhile, argued in a filing that “all the defendants shall be tried together” and that Georgia “is capable of trying large and complex cases.” She added that she “is ready to try all 19 defendants together” while warning that “breaking this case up into multiple lengthy trials would create an enormous strain on the judicial resources of the Fulton County Superior Court.”
The district attorney faces multiple concerns, such as the possibility of Meadows and four other defendants — including Trump — seeking to transfer their cases to federal court. Additionally, Hoffman noted there are efforts to disrupt her trial schedule.
Two of the defendants, attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, have already invoked their right to a swift trial.
Willis has now alerted Judge McAfee about the potential outcome of a domino effect, adding the “potential consequence could be a cascade of additional speedy trial demands.”
Trump’s likely on solid ground here. Hoffman noted further that Judge McAfee has already ruled that Willis’ desire to try all 19 defendants within the next month is “unrealistic.”