Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to 13 felony charges in Georgia concerning an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in the state. Trump’s attorney submitted a waiver of arraignment in Fulton County court last Thursday. In this case, several of the 18 co-defendants have also chosen the same course of action.
The document bearing Trump’s signature states, “I do at this moment waive formal arraignment and enter my plea of NOT GUILTY to the indictment in this case.”
Brian Tevis, an Atlanta lawyer representing Trump’s ex-attorney Rudy Giuliani, shared that most defendants opt to waive arraignment when given the chance. “Almost all the time, defendants prefer to forgo a formal arraignment and avoid appearing if the judge permits,” said Tevis, hinting that Giuliani might also choose this route.
The charges against Trump, Giuliani, and their co-defendants include racketeering and accusations of orchestrating a “criminal enterprise” to disrupt the certification of Georgia’s 2020 election results, which favored President Joe Biden.
In the court document from Thursday, Trump confirmed that he had discussed the indictment charges with his attorney, Steven H. Sadow, and is fully aware of the nature of the right to an arraignment and the charges.
On Aug. 24, Trump was briefly in custody, where his mugshot was taken and fingerprints recorded. He was subsequently released on a $200,000 bond. Trump, unprecedentedly, is the only former president to face criminal charges. He has appeared for arraignments in jurisdictions like New York, Miami, and Washington, D.C.. However, he opted for the waiver in Fulton County, where waiving arraignments is typical.
Previously, Trump had pleaded not guilty in New York to 34 felony charges over alleged illegal reimbursements related to “hush money” payments. Later, he pleaded not guilty to 37 federal felony charges concerning alleged unauthorized retention of national security details post-presidency and another three charges added later. In August, Trump again pleaded not guilty to four federal felonies relating to alleged interferences in the peaceful transition of power after the 2020 election.
Beyond his pleas, Trump has consistently proclaimed his innocence, suggesting that the charges against him are politically motivated.