In Georgia, Donald Trump has entered a not-guilty plea to 13 criminal charges. The indictment accuses the twice impeached and four-time former indicted former president of participating in a plot to rig the state’s 2020 election results.
On Thursday, Aug. 31, a Trump lawyer submitted a waiver of arraignment to a judge in Fulton County. Many of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the case have also submitted comparable waivers and pleaded not guilty.
“As evidenced by my signature below, I hereby waive formal arraignment and enter my plea of NOT GUILTY to the indictment in this case,” the document that Trump signed states.
According to Brian Tevis, an Atlanta lawyer representing Rudy Giuliani, the former attorney for Trump, most defendants forego arraignment when a judge allows them to do so.
Tevis, who also said Giuliani would want to forego the formal arraignment, said, “99% of the time, defendants choose to waive formal arraignment and not to have to appear if the judge allows it.”
The charges against Trump, Giuliani, and the other defendants include racketeering and operating a “criminal enterprise.” In a sweeping indictment, District Attorney Fani Willis said they used several tactics to prevent President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia’s 2020 election from being correctly certified. Trump faces a federal trial in Washington in March 2024 for interfering with the 2020 presidential election. He also faces possible 2024 trials for alleged crimes in Florida and New York, while Willis has announced her intent to proceed with a trial in Georgia next year. In all the ex-president faces 91 felony counts that could land him in prison for more than 800 years.
“I have discussed the charges in the Indictment and this Waiver of Appearance at Arraignment with my attorney Steven H. Sadow, and I fully understand the nature of the offenses charged and my right to appear at arraignment,” Trump stated in the filing on Thursday.
On Aug. 24, Trump turned himself into authorities at a nearby jail, submitting to a booking photo and fingerprinting. The court set the bond for his release at $200,000.