Donald Trump pleads not guilty in Georgia election case

Former president requests his trial be separate from his 18 co-defendants

Donald Trump at an Atlanta airport before he surrendered to charges in Georgia. AP
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Former US president Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to Georgia state charges that he conspired to overturn his 2020 electoral defeat to Joe Biden.

Mr Trump waived his formal arraignment, meaning he will not have to show up for the hearing in Fulton County Superior Court that was originally scheduled for next week.

The former president and 18 co-defendants were indicted earlier this month, accused of engaging in a scheme to hand the state's electors to Mr Trump even though he lost to Mr Biden.

Co-defendants Sidney Powell and Trevian Kutti have already entered not-guilty pleas, waiving their arraignments as well.

All defendants in the case have the option to waive their right to appear at their arraignments.

Mr Trump was booked at Fulton County jail last week and has since campaigned off his mugshot.

He and his co-defendants were charged under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations (Rico) Act, which is used to target criminal organisations.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has proposed a trial date of October 23, although the judge will confirm when the trial is to begin at a future hearing.

A lawyer for Mr Trump requested that the former president face a trial separate from his co-defendants, arguing that preparing for a trial within two months “violate President Trump’s federal and state constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process of law".

Co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro has already filed a demand for a speedy trial and for his case to be tried separately.

Ms Willis has sought to try all 19 co-defendants together.

The former president faces three other criminal cases. In New York he is accused of falsifying business records to cover up hush money paid to an adult film star during the 2016 election.

Special counsel Jack Smith has also indicted him in Miami and Washington for illegally retaining classified documents after leaving the White House and conspiring to overturn the 2020 election.

Mr Trump has maintained his innocence in each case.

Where is Donald Trump facing criminal charges?

Where is Donald Trump facing criminal charges?
Updated: August 31, 2023, 6:37 PM