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Donald Trump pleads not guilty in Georgia election interference case and waives arraignment
31 August 2023, 17:17 | Updated: 31 August 2023, 18:50
Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to charges of election interference in Georgia - and has waived his right to an arraignment to avoid appearing in court next week.
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The former US president will not have to show up for an arraignment hearing that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee had set for next week ahead of his trial in March.
Mr Trump and 18 others were charged earlier this month in a 41-count indictment that outlines an alleged scheme to subvert the will of Georgia voters, who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election.
Several other people charged in the indictment had already waived arraignment in filings with the court, saving them a trip to the courthouse in downtown Atlanta.
Mr Trump previously travelled to Georgia on August 24 to turn himself in at the Fulton County Jail, where he became the first former president to have a mugshot taken.
The case, filed under Georgia's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act, is sprawling, and the logistics of bringing it to trial are likely to be complicated.
Legal manoeuvring by several of those charged has already begun.
Mr Trump already faces charges filed by federal prosecutors in Washington over allegations he tried to overturn the 2020 election.
He was recorded asking Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of statement to "find" 11,780 votes in the battleground state so he could beat Biden there.
Eight people who signed a certificate claiming Trump won the election have reached deals with Fulton County prosecutors.