Former President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty in the sprawling Fulton County election interference case, according to a new court filing.
Trump had been scheduled to be arraigned in person on Wednesday. Georgia law allows criminal defendants to waive their in-person appearance and enter a formal plea through court filings.
Trump also formally asked a judge to sever his case from his co-defendants who want a speedy trial. Trump’s attorney says he will not have “sufficient time” to prepare his case for trial by October 23, 2023, and forcing that trial date would “violate President Trump’s federal and state constitutional rights to a fair trial and due process of law.”
His arraignment marks the fourth time that Trump has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges since leaving the presidency. In this case, Trump is charged with racketeering in his alleged efforts to upend the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia.
Several of the former president’s co-defendants have also waived their in-court appearances and have pleaded not guilty, including Sidney Powell and Trevian Kutti. Defendants who do not waive their appearance will attend court as scheduled on September 6.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, has asked the judge overseeing the case last week to schedule a trial for all 19 defendants for October 23.
In response, lawyers for Trump said they oppose the proposed date and have previewed the likelihood of pre-trial disputes that will drag the proceedings. Several co-defendants, including his former chief of staff Mark Meadows, have sought to move their cases from Georgia state court to federal court, a more advantageous legal spot and a move that also would have the effect of delaying the proceedings.
Trump faces more than a dozen charges, some of which relate to efforts to put forth fake electors to falsely claim that the then-president won Georgia in 2020. He surrendered last week and agreed to a $200,000 bond and other release conditions, including not using social media to target the co-defendants and witnesses in the case.
He has also been indicted in three other cases: one related to a hush-money payment to an adult-film star in 2016 in Manhattan, another involving the alleged mishandling of classified national defense documents and a third federal investigation related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
This story has been updated with additional developments.