Trump Pleads Not Guilty to Charges for Attempting to Alter Georgia Election Results | International

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Former US President Donald Trump at a rally in New Hampshire on August 8REBA SALDANHA (REUTERS)

Former President of the United States Donald Trump has pleaded not guilty to the 13 charges against him in Georgia for mafia-type association and undue pressure on state officials in the attempted coup in that State's elections in 2020. He has also requested formally that his case be separated from that of other co-defendants, to avoid undergoing a quick trial.

Trump chose not to appear in person at the Fulton County courts in Georgia, where this case is being dealt with and where he was scheduled for next week. In his place, his lawyers sent a written statement signed by the incumbent Republican White House nominee, something that Georgia state law allows.

The former president was scheduled to have the charges read to him and make a ruling on them on September 6 at 9:30 in the morning. But that day there will not be the media circus that has accompanied each of the magnate's court appearances. The charge of this indictment, the fourth, had already been displayed in Fulton in all its glory last week, when Trump appeared in the county jail to be booked with the taking of his fingerprints and a mugshot that has gone around the world. world.

It is the fourth time that Trump has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him, but the first in which he does not appear in court to pronounce himself. He did go to the summons in New York in April to answer charges of accounting falsification in the case of payments to a porn actress in 2016 to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship; in Miami in June to testify about allegations of illegal possession of classified documentation related to his tenure, and in Washington in early August to reject charges of his role in attempts to overturn the election results. of 2020.

"I hereby waive a formal hearing and present my declaration of NOT GUILTY", the real estate magnate has written in a two-page statement, in which he also specifies: "I fully understand the nature of the crimes of which I am accused".

Prosecutor Fani Willis accuses the former president – ​​and 18 other defendants – of conspiring in a mafia-type plot to remain in power despite having been defeated in the 2020 presidential elections, in which his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, won. . In the State of Georgia, the current head of state won by the minimum; exactly, by only 11,779 votes.

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Willis blames Trump for a series of maneuvers to falsify the results of the elections in Georgia, including a plot to replace the voters who were supposed to represent that State in the certification ceremony of the official results at the Capitol in Washington. He also accuses him of, among other things, pressuring state officials into dereliction of his duty.

Among the evidence he alleges for the latter is a recording of a telephone conversation between Trump and the Secretary of State of Georgia, also a Republican Brad Raffensperger, in which the then president asked the senior official on January 2, 2021 to “found” 11,780 votes, enough to declare that he had won in that territory.

The prosecutor aspires to hold a common trial for the 19 accused as soon as possible and has proposed March 4 to begin that process. But Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington has already set that day, the eve of the Super Tuesday election, to begin the trial for the attempts to alter the electoral results and Trump's role in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, which rules out That date.

Willis' intentions are also complicated by the fact that two of the defendants, lawyers Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, have requested that they be tried separately and as soon as possible. A judge has agreed to set October 26 as the date to begin the hearing against Chesebro. In his statement this Thursday, Trump has formally requested to separate his case from that of this lawyer, since he assures that he could not be prepared to begin hearings so soon.

Another possible complication for Willis's aspirations is the interest of several defendants in moving their case to the federal circuit, rather than keeping it in Fulton court. Among those who have already filed his petition in this regard is Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, who testified before a judge Monday to argue his case.

Meadows and the rest of those interested in transferring the case allege that the events of which they are accused occurred in the performance of their official duties and therefore the case should be heard in federal instances. It is almost certain that Trump will also request the transfer to the federal circuit.

Interested parties believe it is more likely that a federal court will accept their claims and dismiss the case; and that, if it were to go to trial, the composition of the jury would be more varied. They consider that in Fulton, a county with a large Democratic majority, the vast majority or all of the jurors would be against the accused from the beginning.

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