Trump pleads not guilty in Georgia election case
August 31, 2023 10:17 PM
Former US president Donald Trump pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia.
The Republican presidential frontrunner, who faces 13 felony counts including racketeering, entered his plea in a court filing waiving his right to appear at an arraignment next Wednesday.
Trump, 77, surrendered to the Fulton County jail in the state capital Atlanta last week and was the first former US president pictured in a police mug shot.
Released on a $200,000 bond and given the inmate number "PO1135809," Trump was accused of colluding with 18 other defendants in a multi-pronged attempt to overturn his defeat in Georgia.
The billionaire -- who lost the state by fewer than 12,000 votes -- has been indicted four times since April, setting the stage for a year of unprecedented drama as he juggles numerous court appearances and another White House campaign.
Trump's arrest came a day after he spurned a televised debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin featuring eight of his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination -- all of whom lag well behind him in the polls.
During the debate all but two of the candidates said they would support him as the party's nominee even if he were a convicted felon.
Trump is the first US president in history to face criminal charges.
His various trials, if they take place next year, are set to coincide with the Republican presidential primary season, which begins in January, and the campaign for the November 2024 White House election.
A judge in Washington on Monday set March 4, 2024 for his federal subversion conspiracy trial -- the eve of "Super Tuesday," when more than a dozen states will pick between Trump and one of his rivals to be the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.
"Setting a trial date does not depend on the defendant's professional obligations so Mr Trump will have to make a date work," US District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan told the hearing.
Trump is also facing several lawsuits and on Wednesday was accused by New York state's top law enforcement official of routinely overvaluing his net worth by billions of dollars each year between 2011 and 2021.
In documents filed in support of an ongoing $250 million civil suit against the former president, state Attorney General Letitia James claimed that Trump and his associates submitted "grossly inflated" numbers to banks and insurers "to secure and maintain loans and insurance on more favorable terms."
The scheme resulted in "hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten savings and profits," the documents alleged.
That trial is due to start October 2, with a preliminary hearing September 22, though James, a Democrat, is seeking to have the court resolve the case before it goes to trial.
Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is also indicted in the Georgia case and surrendered last week before being released on a $100,000 bond.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump's personal lawyer when he was in the White House and vigorously pushed the false claims that Trump had won the 2020 election, was also booked and released.
Trump's presidential campaign reported that it has raised millions of dollars since the mug shot was released.
T-shirts, mugs, stickers and beverage coolers bearing the image were put out by Trump's team within hours of the photo's release.