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31 Aug, 2023 15:17

Trump pleads not guilty in Georgia election case

The former US president is expected to face trial in March
Trump pleads not guilty in Georgia election case

Former US President Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him in a Georgia election interference case. Trump, who was booked and arrested last week, is accused of 13 felony racketeering and conspiracy offenses.

The 77-year-old entered his plea on Thursday morning. According to documents filed by his legal team, he waived his right to have the charges formally read to him by a judge in Fulton County, where he was arrested last week.

Officials in Georgia allege that Trump led a “criminal racketeering enterprise” aimed at overturning the results of the 2020 election, in which President Joe Biden won the state by less than 12,000 votes. By using legislation normally reserved for prosecuting organized crime groups, prosecutor Fanni Willis has applied the same charges to 18 of Trump’s legal and campaign teams, who each face up to 20 years in prison for racketeering, if found guilty.

Trump has claimed that the case is an attempt by the Biden administration and its supporters to thwart his 2024 election campaign. After surrendering to be booked and having his mugshot taken last week, the former president described the case as “a travesty of justice,” and “election interference.”

His trial will likely interfere with his campaign. Willis has proposed a start date of March 24 next year, less than three weeks after the 15-state “Super Tuesday” vote in the Republican primary season. Some 17 states will vote on a GOP candidate in the weeks after Super Tuesday.

Trump is also facing a March 25 trial date in a Manhattan case over alleged bookkeeping errors regarding his payment of so-called “hush money” to porn star Stormy Daniels, and a March 4 court appearance in Washington DC, on federal conspiracy charges over his alleged attempts to block the certification of Biden’s electoral win in January 2021.

With these three indictments combined with 40 federal felony counts over his alleged mishandling of classified documents, he is facing the remote possibility of more than 700 years behind bars.

Donald Trump is the leading candidate to take the Republican Party’s 2024 nomination, and recent polls show the former president with a narrow lead over Biden.