Trump and co-defendants in Georgia election case will be arraigned Sept. 6

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said Monday that former President Donald Trump will be arraigned on charges in the Georgia election case at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 6.

His co-defendants will also be arraigned that day, including his former lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who is scheduled to be arraigned at 9:45 a.m. The arraignments of the remaining co-defendants will continue after that at 15-minute intervals.

Defendant Ray Smith, an attorney who represented Trump in Georgia cases related to the 2020 election, pleaded not guilty Monday and waived his arraignment in a court filing. He’s the first of the 19 defendants in the case to enter a plea.

Trump was charged with felony racketeering and numerous conspiracy counts as part of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sweeping investigation into the effort by him and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, an election battleground state.

Trump and his co-defendants, who also were charged with racketeering, were booked at the Fulton County Jail last week.

The defendants in the sweeping 41-count indictment include Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. It also names lawyers John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Kenneth Chesebro and Jenna Ellis and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, among others. All were charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, among other offenses.

Trump has denied doing anything wrong in the 2020 election, accusing Willis of mounting a politically motivated “witch hunt” against him. Several of his co-defendants also have denied wrongdoing.

Meadows, Clark and David Shafer — a former Georgia state senator and GOP chair and a so-called fake elector who signed a certificate falsely declaring Trump won the state in 2020 — are seeking to move their cases to federal court.

A federal judge in Atlanta heard arguments Monday on a request by Meadows to move the Fulton County case to federal court. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones scheduled a Sept. 18 hearing to discuss Clark’s request to move his case to federal court. Jones did not issue a ruling Monday on Meadows’ effort.

Booking and arraignment in criminal cases operate separately in Fulton County. The sheriff’s office noted that some arraignments may be virtual, as dictated by McAfee. It is unclear whether Trump’s arraignment will be in person or virtual.

After he surrendered to Fulton County authorities last week, Trump was released from custody under agreed-upon conditions, including a $200,000 bond.

As part of the conditions, he is prohibited from doing anything a judge could interpret as an effort to intimidate co-defendants or witnesses or “otherwise obstruct the administration of justice.”

More specifically, Trump “shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature” against any co-defendant, witness or victim, the community or property in the community, the bond order said.

“The above shall include, but are not limited to, posts on social media or reposts of posts made by another individual on social media,” it said.

Before Trump and his co-defendants’ surrendered last week, Willis initially proposed a March 4 trial date, preceded by arraignments the week of Sept. 5.

“In light of Defendant Donald John Trump’s other criminal and civil matters pending in the courts of our sister sovereigns, the State of Georgia proposes certain deadlines that do not conflict with these other courts’ already-scheduled hearings and trial dates,” Willis wrote in a court filing this month.

She said the proposed dates accounted for defendants’ needs to review discovery materials and get ready for trial but also protected “the State of Georgia’s and the public’s interest in a prompt resolution of the charges for which the Defendants have been indicted.”

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