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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Ray Smith pleads not guilty, first of 19 Fulton County defendants to enter plea

Ray Smith, a former lawyer for the Trump campaign, is the first of 19 defendants to enter a not guilty plea to charges in Fulton County, Georgia, accusing the group of plotting to thwart the state’s 2020 election results.

An attorney for Smith filed a waiver of arraignment Monday indicating Smith will not appear as scheduled on Sept. 6, and entered not guilty pleas to each of Smith’s 12 charges.

Smith and his co-defendants, who include former President Donald Trump, are accused of violating Georgia’s racketeering law through an alleged scheme to overturn the election after President Joe Biden’s victory in the state in 2020.

The Aug. 15 indictment claims Smith unlawfully requested state lawmakers appoint a different set of electors from Georgia who would cast their votes for Trump, and conspired with others to falsify a document that purported to be the certificate of the votes of the state’s 2020 presidential electors.

Smith surrendered on Aug. 23 to a Fulton County jail and was released on $50,000 bond.

It is not clear if any other defendants will waive their arraignments.

The other 18 co-defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 6.

Trump is currently scheduled to be the first arraigned that day, at 9:30 a.m. If he doesn’t waive his appearance, he will hear the 13 felony charges he faces and is then expected to enter a not guilty plea. Soon after, at 9:45 a.m., Trump’s former attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is scheduled to go through the same process.

The arrangements of their co-defendants are scheduled to continue in a 15-minute-increment procession until 3:15 p.m., with a one-hour lunch break at noon.

An attorney for Trump would not say Monday if he intends to attend the arraignment.

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