As he continues to navigate the complex legal landscape in which he now finds himself, former President Donald Trump on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges related to allegations that he unlawfully attempted to overturn the outcome of the 2020 election in the state of Georgia, as the Associated Press reports.
Trump also waived his right to attend his formal arraignment, which is slated to take place in Fulton County next week.
The relevant filing declared, “Understanding my rights, I do hereby freely and voluntarily waive my right to be present at my arraignment on the Indictment and my right to have it read to me in open court.”
In addition, Trump's team also filed a motion seeking severance of his case from those involving co-defendants who have already asserted their right to a speedy trial.
It was earlier this month that a 41-count indictment was announced against Trump and 18 co-defendants, with the former president allegedly implicated in 13 of those charges, including counts of Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer, Conspiracy to Commit Forgery in the First Degree, Conspiracy to Commit False Statements and Writings, False Statements of Writings, Violation of the Georgia RICO Act, Conspiracy to Commit Impersonating a Public Officer, Conspiracy to Commit Filing False Documents, and Filing False Documents.
Co-defendants in the case brought by Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis include some notable names including former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, lawyers Sidney Powell and Kenneth Chesebro, and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
Thus far, Powell and Chesebro are the only two co-defendants who have demanded a speedy trial, pursuant to the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as CNBC notes, and Trump contends that his trial should be conducted separately and apart from theirs as well as from proceedings involving any other defendant who may still make such a request.
With a trial date of Oct. 23 already having been set for Chesebro, counsel for the former president argued to presiding judge Scott McAfee that affording him less than two months to craft a defense would constitute a violation of his rights under federal and state law “to a fair trial and due process of law.”
McAfee possesses wide discretion on the issue of whether the defendants' trials should be severed, but it is unclear where he is likely to fall on the question.
Willis, for her part, has declared her belief that all co-defendants under the indictment should be tried together, but at the very least, all those demanding speedy trials should receive the same date for their proceedings to commence.
In her court filing addressing the matter, Willis wrote that she stood in opposition “at this juncture” to any severing of cases such that 19 distinct trials – or a series of smaller group trials – would have to occur.
The district attorney contended, “All Defendants should be tried together, but at an absolute minimum, the Court should set Defendant Powell's trial and that of any other defendant who may file a speedy trial demand on the same date as Defendant Chesebro's.”
In other major news related to the legal proceedings in Georgia, McAfee announced this week that all significant proceedings in the case against the former president will be live streamed on a county YouTube channel as Fox 5 in Atlanta reported.
Regardless of when Trump's Georgia trial is ultimately scheduled to take place, it is clear that authorities in Fulton County are determined to make it the televised media spectacle the left has been hoping it would be.