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Former US president Donald Trump. Picture: REBA SALDANHA/REUTERS
Former US president Donald Trump. Picture: REBA SALDANHA/REUTERS

Former US President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a wide-ranging Georgia criminal indictment related to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

“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,” Trump said in a court filing in Fulton County Superior Court.

The plea means that Trump, the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination, will not appear in person in court next week to face the charges.

An indictment accuses Trump of 13 felony counts, including racketeering, for pressuring state officials to reverse his 2020 election loss and allegedly setting up a fake slate of electors to undermine the congressional certification of Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory.

Fulton County prosecutors seek an October start to the trial. Some of Trump’s co-defendants in Georgia, including attorney Sidney Powell, Trevian Kutti and Ray Smith, have also waived formal arraignment and entered not guilty pleas.

The 98-page Georgia indictment filed in mid-August charges Trump and 18 other defendants with a total of 41 criminal counts.

The Georgia case is Trump’s fourth indictment. He faces a New York state trial in March involving a hush money payment to a porn star and a federal trial in May in Florida for allegedly mishandling federal classified documents.

Another indictment, in Washington federal court, accuses him of illegally seeking to overturn his 2020 election defeat. Trump is due to stand trial in March 2024 for that case, one day before Republican voters in more than a dozen US states decide whether to give him a chance to recapture the White House.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all criminal cases and could spend much of next year in court, even as he campaigns to retake the White House.

Reuters 

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