Trump pleads ‘not guilty’ in Georgia racketeering case

Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to subvert the 2020 election in Georgia, formally signaling his intent to fight the charges in the sprawling racketeering case brought by Fulton County prosecutors.

Trump entered his plea Thursday in a two-page court filing meant to waive his appearance at an arraignment scheduled for Sept. 6, when he was slated to have the charges read to him in court. Several of the 18 defendants charged alongside him have also waived their appearances at the scheduled arraignment.

In the filing, Trump refers to himself three times as “President Trump” or “President Donald Trump.”

The plea signals a new phase of the criminal proceedings against Trump in Georgia, triggering the start of evidence-sharing by prosecutors as they advance toward a still unscheduled trial. District Attorney Fani Willis is seeking to try Trump and the other defendants at an expedited Oct. 23 trial date that was demanded by Kenneth Chesebro, an attorney charged alongside Trump for his role in the alleged scheme.

Trump, however, has signaled he intends to sever his case from the others, and several other defendants — including Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows — are seeking to transfer the case to federal court, a move that could result in all 19 defendants being tried on a different timeline.

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones is weighing Meadows’ bid and is expected to rule soon.

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