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Trump Pleads not Guilty in Georgia Election Fraud Case


The embattled former US president Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty in the Georgia Election fraud paving the way to appear in court next week. Trump is among 19 people charged with a conspiracy to overturn the US state’s 2020 vote results.

He turned himself in at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta last week, where he had his mugshot taken. Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, describing the case as politically motivated.

In a court document filed on Thursday, Mr. Trump said he “fully understands” the nature of the allegations and his right to appear in court.”Understanding my rights, I do hereby freely and voluntarily waive my right to be present at my arraignment on the indictment and my right to have it read to me in open court,” the signed document says.

Mr Trump, the current frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has appeared at each of his three previous arraignments.

He was required to do so for the cases he is facing in New York and Florida and opted not to request a virtual appearance for a separate case in Washington DC.

Georgia’s Fulton County is the only jurisdiction in which he is facing charges where defendants can choose not to appear in court when they are formally charged in criminal cases.

Brian Tevis, an Atlanta attorney who represents one of Mr. Trump’s co-accused, Rudy Giuliani, told CBS, the BBC’s US partner, that “99% of the time” defendants who are given the option choose to waive their arraignment.

Earlier this week, three other co-defendants in the case entered not-guilty pleas, including former Trump attorneys Ray Stallings Smith and Sidney Powell, as well as former celebrity publicist Trevian Kutti.

Earlier in the week, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan denied a request from the former president’s legal team to push the trial back until April 2026 and also dismissed a proposal from Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith to begin the trial as soon as January.

“These proposals are obviously very far apart,” she said. “Neither of them is acceptable.”

“My primary concern here, as it is in every case, is the interest of justice and that I’ve balanced the defendant’s right to adequately prepare.”

The other cases against him include one in New York state court for hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, one in federal court in Florida for mishandling classified documents, and one in Georgia state court for leading a racketeering scheme to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election in that state.

Trump has denied wrongdoing in all the cases against him and continues to repeat unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was “rigged and stolen.”

“It’s all a BIG LIE,” he posted to his social media site TruthSocial prior to Chutkan setting the trial date.

His defense team has sought to delay the case in Washington and others until after the presidential election, making an impassioned plea on Monday morning that it would be impossible for them to prepare a defense due to the 12 million pages of discovery handed over to them by Smith and his team of prosecutors.

Trump, the GOP front-runner for the 2024 presidential nomination, faces a four-count indictment that accuses him of interfering with the peaceful transfer of power in the wake of the 2020 presidential election inciting a violent insurrection at the Capitol, and trying to overturn election results thereby regressing US democracy.