Trump and his 18 co-defendants did not appear in court in Fulton County, Georgia, on Wednesday. All have pleaded not guilty in writing or through their lawyers to election interference charges for which they must answer.
Trump made his response known last week. The last to decline to appear was Mark Meadows, the former White House chief secretary, who announced his decision on Tuesday.
Meadows also requested that his case be sent to federal court, arguing that the activities described in the indictment were part of his official duties at the time, and that he was merely following the president's instructions. Trump. As a federal official, Meadows feels protected from prosecution by the State of Georgia by the provisions of federal law. His lawyers have also given the first signs of a defense that could dissociate itself from that of Trump, or even turn against him.
During a hearing in Atlanta, one of them pointed out that if Meadows had organized the infamous phone call where Trump asked Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to declare him the winner , he had not himself asked to change the result of the election. The judge's decision on whether or not to allow Meadows' case to be tried in federal court could also affect other co-defendants, who have also requested that their case be tried separately from the main case.
The Fulton County judge was scheduled to consider such motions on Wednesday from attorneys Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, two advisers to Trump in the months following the 2020 election. Both are seeking a speedy trial, may -be even this fall, arguing that the charges they must answer are different from those of the other defendants, and that they could suffer from an appearance in the same trial.
Tuesday's announcement that former Proud Boys militia leader Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison for conspiracy and sedition - the longest sentence handed down to date in 1,000 cases related to the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 -, came to remind us of the risks that Trump and his co-defendants incur in the event of a conviction.
"Reality is setting in, and this sentence should be a warning to Trump's 18 co-defendants in the Georgia case that this is going to happen to them too," warned former Trump attorney Michael Cohen on Tuesday in an interview with CNN. “If they believe the January 6 cases are isolated cases, they are not, and I think the sentences handed down by Fulton County Georgia will be just as painful…Unfortunately for them, they are now confronted with the gravity of what they did in the name of Donald Trump, because he was the one who gave them the order to attack the Capitol.”
Cohen, who had acted as an intermediary for Trump to pay money to former porn star Stormy Daniels, before revealing the affair and breaking up with his former employer, urged Trump's eighteen co-defendants to Georgia to cooperate with justice. “I recommend that they do it now, because as soon as someone else starts talking, your testimony loses its importance.”
The number of lawsuits against Trump and the counts he faces has risen rapidly in recent months. The former president now faces four federal indictments in Washington DC for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and forty federal indictments in Florida for keeping secret documents at his private club in Mar -a-Lago and rejected government demands to return them. He also faces 13 counts in Georgia, where he is accused of trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. He faces 34 counts in New York related to money paid to Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election campaign, and saw a Manhattan judge confirm on Wednesday that he will have to pay damages to journalist Jean Carroll, who accuses him of defamation after filing a complaint against him for sexual assault.
Trump, who has seen his support increase among Republican voters with each new indictment, to the point of becoming his party's big favorite in the primaries, is preparing to conduct an electoral campaign and his defense in front of four different courts. He is now between 40 and 50 points ahead of his pursuers in the Republican primaries and is tied with Joe Biden in the November 2024 presidential polls.