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Trump enters not guilty plea in Fulton County, won’t appear for arraignment

Former President Donald Trump has entered a not guilty plea to 13 Georgia felony counts related to an alleged scheme to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results.

An attorney for Trump filed a waiver of arraignment in a Fulton County court Thursday. Several others among Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the case have also filed similar waivers and entered not guilty pleas.

“As evidenced by my signature below, I do hereby waive formal arraignment and enter my plea of NOT GUILTY to the indictment in this case,” reads the filing signed by Trump.

Most defendants given the option to waive arraignment do so, according to Brian Tevis, an Atlanta attorney who represents Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

“99% of the time defendants choose to waive formal arraignment and to not have to appear if the judge allows it,” said Tevis, who indicated Giuliani may also waive the arraignment.

Trump, Giuliani and their co-defendants are charged with racketeering and accused of running a “criminal enterprise” via a series of alleged schemes designed to thwart proper certification of Georgia’s 2020 election, which President Joe Biden won.

“I have discussed the charges in the Indictment and this Waiver of Appearance at Arraignment with my attorney Steven H, Sadow, and I fully understand the nature of the offenses charged and my right to appear at arraignment,” Trump acknowledged in Thursday’s filing.

Trump surrendered to officials at a local jail on Aug. 24, submitting to a booking photo and fingerprinting. He was released on $200,000 bond.

Trump, the first former president ever to be charged with crimes, has appeared at each of his three previous arraignments. He was required to for ones in New York and Miami, and did not request a virtual appearance in Washington, D.C., where such appearances via video feed are common. Fulton County is the only jurisdiction where Trump is charged in which waived arraignments are common.

In April, he entered a not guilty plea at arraignment to 34 felony counts of falsification of business records in New York State. That case centers on reimbursements to a former attorney for alleged “hush money” payments to an adult film star.

In June, he entered a not guilty plea to 37 federal felony counts related to “willful retention” of national security information after leaving the White House. Trump did not have to attend a July hearing in which an attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to an additional three charges added to that indictment.

On Aug. 3, he entered a not guilty plea to four federal felony counts related to his alleged efforts to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power after losing the election in 2020.

In addition to his not guilty pleas, Trump has frequently denied wrongdoing and alleged that all the prosecutors who charged him did so for political gain.

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