ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday and said he’ll skip a hearing next week in the case accusing him and others of illegally trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.
That means he won’t have to show up for the arraignment hearing that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee had set for next week. Trump’s decision to waive arraignment averts the dramatic arraignments that have accompanied the three other criminal cases Trump faces in which the former president has been forced amid tight security into a courtroom and entered “not guilty” pleas before crowds of spectators.
Trump and 18 others were charged earlier this month in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged scheme to subvert the will of Georgia voters who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election.
Several other people charged in the indictment had already waived arraignment in filings with the court, saving them a trip to the courthouse in downtown Atlanta. Trump previously traveled to Georgia on Aug. 24 to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail, where he became the first former president to have a mug shot taken.
The case, filed under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, is sprawling, and the logistics of bringing it to trial are likely to be complicated. Legal maneuvering by several of those charged has already begun.