Jury selection began Friday in the first Georgia election subversion trial, a landmark moment in the massive racketeering case, where pro-Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro is facing charges that he tried to overturn the 2020 election with fake GOP electors.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee met with the pool of prospective jurors Friday and told them the trial could last four to five months. However, it’s unclear if the trial will proceed as planned, with a potential plea deal looming in the case.
Asked by CNN about a possible plea deal, Chesebro attorney Scott Grubman said: “We’ll see as the day progresses.”
CNN has reported that Fulton County prosecutors recently offered a plea deal to Chesebro. It is not clear if Chesebro will accept the plea offer, but a source familiar with the discussions said the likelihood increased after his co-defendant Sidney Powell made a surprise turn and pleaded guilty herself on Thursday, leaving Chesebro as the sole defendant whose trial was scheduled to begin Friday.
An attorney who worked to undermine the results of the 2020 election, Chesebro helped develop the Trump’s campaign’s plot to put forward unauthorized slates of GOP electors in Georgia and six other states. (In previous court filings, Chesebro’s lawyers have denied that he devised the plan.)
Chesebro and other Trump allies hoped then-Vice President Mike Pence would use the GOP electors to justify delaying Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s victory – or even throw out Biden’s lawful electors and recognize the fake GOP slates instead on January 6, 2021.
Chesebro is charged with seven crimes, including a violation of Georgia’s RICO act, conspiracy to commit forgery and conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer.
Powell, a former Trump campaign attorney, pleaded guilty on Thursday in the sprawling racketeering case. Georgia-based bail bondsman Scott Hall pleaded guilty in late September.
As part of the plea deal struck between prosecutors and Powell’s attorneys, she admitted her role in the January 2021 breach of election systems in rural Coffee County, Georgia. Prosecutors recommended a sentence of six years of probation, as well as $9,000 in restitution. Powell will also be required to write an apology letter to the citizens of Georgia.
Powell pleaded guilty to six misdemeanors – six counts of conspiracy to commit intentional interference with performance of election duties – a significant reduction from the seven felonies she initially faced.
Ahead of the trial, Chesebro and Powell lost several bids to get the case thrown out, including earlier this week. In a spate of pretrial rulings, McAfee rejected their arguments that Fulton County prosecutors misapplied Georgia’s RICO law and that the indictment failed to establish key elements of the crimes that have been charged.