Donald Trump entered a plea of not guilty via a court filing on Thursday to state-level charges brought in Fulton County accusing him of orchestrating a sweeping “criminal enterprise” to reverse his loss in the 2020 election.
In doing so, Trump waived his right to appear in court for an arraignment on the charges.
Trump’s new lawyer in the case, Atlanta defense attorney Steve Sadow, signed the filing, as did Trump himself. The former President specified that he was “freely and voluntarily” waiving his right to appear.
The arraignment hearing for each defendant is scheduled to take place on Sept. 6.
Trump has found himself split from several of the other 18 defendants in the sprawling RICO prosecution brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Nearly all of the defendants have begun to battle with prosecutors over when the trial may begin, and where.
Trump’s old Chief of Staff Mark Meadows moved nearly instantaneously to remove his prosecution to federal court, where he then may be able to have the matter dismissed on an argument that his involvement in Trump’s effort to reverse his loss were encompassed within his duties as a federal official. DOJ crony Jeffrey Bossert Clark filed a similar request, as did three of the Georgia fake electors charged in the case.
Another group has also sought to speed up the trial date.
Attorney Ken Chesebro first asked for an early trial date, which he received. Kraken lawyer Sidney Powell filed a similar request, as did John Eastman, the conservative movement attorney who sought to have Mike Pence renege on his duties to count Biden’s electoral votes on January 6.
If they proceed on the current schedule, those early trials would commence on Oct. 23.
Willis filed a request asking Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee to convey to the defendants how a speedy trial would “limit certain of their options” in the case, mainly to do with timelines around discovery and other pre-trial matters.
Willis had also moved to clarify whether the early Chesebro trial date should be applied to the rest of the defendants, emphasizing that she wants to try all 19 defendants together, and that she is ready to proceed. In response, Clark filed a somewhat contemptuous motion on Wednesday saying any trial date would be “premature” and impractical.
Trump himself lodged a complaint via a motion responding to Willis, saying that the judge shouldn’t clarify his order at all: the former President was fine with delay, and Chesebro and the other attorneys could go ahead early if they wanted to.