Jury selection to begin Friday in first Georgia election interference trial


(ATLANTA) — The first batch of 450 potential jurors will gather at the Fulton County courthouse Friday morning to begin the jury selection process for the Oct. 23 trial of Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, two of former President’s Donald Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the Georgia election interference case.

Jurors will be told to expect a five-month trial, Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee said during a hearing Monday, which was scheduled to hash out the final details of the questionnaire that potential jurors will fill out.

“Bring a book,” McAfee said of Friday’s process. “We’ll be there for about an hour or two while they fill out questionnaires.”

Individual questioning of the first batch of potential jurors will then start next week.

Powell, Chesebro, Trump and 16 others pleaded not guilty in August to all charges in a sweeping racketeering indictment for alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state of Georgia. Defendant Scott Hall subsequently took a plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to tampering with voting machine equipment.

Chesebro is accused in the indictment of drafting a strategy to use so-called “alternate electors” to prevent Joe Biden from receiving 270 electoral votes, while Powell, a former Trump campaign attorney, is accused of helping tamper with voting machines in Coffee County.

Powell’s attorney said that Powell is likely to attend the proceedings on Friday, which would mark her first in-person appearance in the case.

On Monday, attorneys for Powell, Chesebro, and the state debated which questions prospective jurors will have to answer when they come to court on Friday. Among the questions considered: “Would you feel nervous or concerned about returning a verdict, depending on how the public would respond?”

An attorney for Powell said witnesses expected during the trial include Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, former Trump adviser Michael Flynn, and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon.

Prosecutors have also previously indicated they will seek testimony from Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and current Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn.

In total, defense attorneys have said the government has given them a list of over 180 witnesses.

Also Monday, after Chesebro won his motion last month to interview the grand jurors who returned the indictment over concerns that the indictment was not “properly returned,” the judge said that two members of the grand jury had agreed to be interviewed.

The interviews are scheduled to be conducted Friday afternoon at the Fulton County courthouse, the judge said.

In a separate ruling Monday, former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was granted a hearing by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals over his continued effort to move his Fulton County case into federal court.

The appeals court set oral arguments for Dec. 15 after receiving briefings on the issue from both Meadows and the state of Georgia.

The appeal from Meadows came after a federal judge last month denied his request to move his Fulton County case based on a federal law that calls for the removal of criminal proceedings when someone is charged for actions they allegedly took as a federal official acting “under color” of their office.

In denying Meadows’s request, lower court Judge Steve Jones found that Meadows’ actions as charged in the indictment “were taken on behalf of the Trump campaign” — not on behalf of his duties with the federal government.

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