Former US President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty and waived arraignment in the case accusing him and others of illegally trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. The move ensures that he will not have to show up for an arraignment hearing scheduled for next week. The arraignment hearing was set by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.
Trump and 18 others were charged earlier this month in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged scheme to subvert the will of Georgia voters, who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election. Several other individuals charged in the indictment had already waived arraignment, saving them the need to appear at the courthouse in downtown Atlanta.
This court filing comes after Trump previously travelled to Georgia on August 24 to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail, where he became the first former president to have a mugshot taken. The former president, who remains the frontrunner in the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination race, was swiftly released on $200,000 bond following his arrest.
The court filing, signed by Trump himself, states, "As evidenced by my signature below, I do hereby waive formal arraignment and enter my plea of NOT GUILTY to the indictment in this case." Trump faces 13 criminal charges in Georgia, as prosecutors accuse him and his associates of joining a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election in the state.
However, it remains uncertain as to where and when the trial for Trump will take place in this case, as well as the three other cases he has been charged in this year. The 19 defendants in the Georgia case are currently in dispute with Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis over the start date and the court in which the trial will be held. This has led to two judges in courtrooms only a few blocks apart in downtown Atlanta having to deal with defense lawyers pulling in different directions.
In his filing, Trump stated that he had discussed the charges with his lawyer, Steven H. Sadow, and fully understood the nature of the offenses charged. He also explicitly waived his right to appear at the scheduled arraignment, which was set to take place in Atlanta next Wednesday.
Trump's surrender at the Fulton County Jail and subsequent booking on 13 felony charges for his efforts to reverse his 2020 election loss in Georgia marked a historic moment as the first former president in US history to have his mugshot taken during his brief arrest. The legal battle surrounding Trump's alleged interference in the election remains ongoing, with the trial date and venue yet to be determined.
themes: Joe Biden Donald Trump Georgia