Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday and said he will forgo a hearing next week in the case in which he and others are accused of illegally attempting to overturn the results of the Georgia 2020 election.
On September 6, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee scheduled arraignment proceedings for Donald Trump and the other 18 defendants in the case.
A court filing waiving arraignment means Trump will not be required to appear.
The decision to forego an in-person appearance averts the dramatic arraignments that have accompanied Trump’s three other criminal cases, in which the Republican former president was forced amid tight security into a courtroom and entered “not guilty” pleas in front of audiences of onlookers.
This means that Trump will not have to enter a plea on television, as Georgia courts have relatively lax regulations regarding news cameras in courtrooms.
Earlier this month, Trump and 18 others were charged in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged conspiracy to subvert the will of Georgia voters who chose Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent.
Several other indictment defendants had already declined arraignment in court filings, sparing them a journey to the courthouse in downtown Atlanta.
Trump previously traveled to Georgia on August 24 to surrender at the Fulton County Jail, becoming the first former president to have a mugshot taken.
The case, which was filed under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, is expansive, and it will likely be difficult to bring it to trial.
In the case, legal maneuvering has already begun.
At least two defendants have filed requests for a speedy trial and to be tried apart from the other defendants.
Kenneth Chesebro, a lawyer who participated in the coordination and execution of a scheme to have 16 Georgia Republicans sign a certificate falsely claiming that Trump won the state and declaring themselves “duly elected and qualified” electors, will stand trial on October 23.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has stated that she desires to try all of the defendants concurrently, and she has asked the magistrate to establish a trial date of October 23 for everyone.
Trump’s attorney, Steve Sadow, has stated in court filings that he objects to that date and intends to file a motion to separate Trump’s case from those of those who demand a swift trial.
Some of the remaining defendants are attempting to transfer their cases to federal court.
On Monday, a judge heard arguments regarding a similar request from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, but did not immediately rule.
Trump, the frontrunner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has criticized the cases against him as an attempt to prevent him from regaining the White House.