Former US President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday in the Georgia criminal case accusing him of racketeering and conspiracy in connection with the effort to overturn the 2020 election, according to court documents.
Trump’s lawyers submitted the plea in writing and notified the court that he would not appear physically for the slated arraignment next week, which is allowed under Georgia law.
According to CBS, the former president said in the court filing that he had discussed the charges in the indictment with his attorney.
He said, “And I fully understand the nature of the offenses charged and my right to appear at arraignment.”
The former president added that he “freely and voluntarily” waived his right to be present at his arraignment and to have it read to him in open court.
Trump, who is running for president again, had been scheduled to be arraigned on the charges at 9:30 am next Wednesday.
Separately on Thursday, Trump’s attorneys filed a motion to divide his case from those of his co-defendants who have demanded a speedy trial and who have scheduled a trial date for October 23.
Only Kenneth Chesebro, one of the 18 co-defendants, has a trial set for that date.
Later Thursday, former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis entered a plea of not guilty and filed a waiver appearance for next week’s arraignment.