Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani and six other co-conspirators charged in the Georgia election subversion case pleaded not guilty on Friday and waived their right to an arraignment hearing.
Georgia law allows criminal defendants to wave their in-person appearance and formally enter a not-guilty plea through paperwork filings with the court. Twelve defendants in the case have formally entered a plea. If any of the 19 defendants don’t file the paperwork, they will need to appear at an in-person arraignment on Wednesday in Atlanta.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Giuliani with 13 state crimes, including violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, conspiracy to commit false statements and writings, and soliciting a public officer to violate their oath.
Giuliani’s tally of 13 counts in the Fulton County indictment is more than any other defendant in the case besides Trump, who also faces 13 charges.
The former mayor of New York City previously represented Trump and appeared before Georgia state lawmakers three times after the general election in December 2020, where he peddled lies about widespread fraud in the state.
Prosecutors in the Fulton County indictment also list Giuliani’s outreach to officials in other states – including lawmakers in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona – where he allegedly made more false claims of election fraud and tried to solicit them to appoint fake electors.
Attorney Kenneth Chesebro, the architect of the Trump campaign’s fake electors plot in 2020, pleaded not guilty Friday in the Georgia election subversion case, according to a court filing.
He also waived his right to an arraignment hearing, according to the filing.
Chesebro is facing seven criminal charges, including a violation of Georgia’s RICO act and conspiracy to commit forgery. He denies wrongdoing and his trial is scheduled to begin in late October.
Chesebro, the first Georgia defendant with a scheduled trial date, wants a judge to force Willis to speed up the turnover of “discovery” evidence ahead of his October 23 criminal trial.
In a court filing Friday, Chesebro’s attorney said he already gave Willis a hard drive for the evidence. But he said prosecutors notified him that they won’t be ready to give it back, with the discovery material, until September 15.
“The State should not just be allowed to sit on its thumbs to run down the clock, as late as possible, to gain a tactical advantage in this litigation,” Chesebro’s attorney Scott Grubman said in a filing.
The filing went on to say, “The State has publicly trumpeted that it is ready to go to trial immediately. Therefore, to now say the State can’t turn over discovery strains credulity.”
Fulton County prosecutors want to try the case together, with all 19 defendants, in October and keep it in state court.
Some of the defendants have asked to break up the case and hold separate trials. Some defendants are attempting to move the case into federal court. And some defendants are pressing for speedy trials later this year, while Trump opposes that time frame and wants to slow down the process.
Pro-Trump lawyer Robert Cheeley, who was indicted in the Georgia election subversion case, pleaded not guilty on Friday and waived his right to an arraignment hearing.
Willis charged Cheeley with 10 state crimes, including violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, perjury, and soliciting a public officer to violate their oath.
After the 2020 election, Cheeley participated in public hearings before Georgia state lawmakers where he and other Trump allies pushed baseless fraud claims. At a Georgia Senate hearing in December 2020, Cheeley showed video that he falsely claimed contained “evidence” of vote-rigging in Atlanta that “should shock the conscience” of Georgians.
Fulton County defendant Stephen Lee, who faces five counts in the election subversion case tied to the intimidation of an Atlanta election worker, pleaded not guilty and waived his right to formal arraignment hearing Friday.
Willis charged Lee with five counts, including violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, influencing a witness, and conspiring to solicit false statements.
Prosecutors say Lee, an Illinois-based pastor, participated in a plot to pressure an Atlanta worker into falsely admitting that she committed massive fraud against Trump in the 2020 election.
The election worker, Ruby Freeman, called 911 after Lee knocked on her front door in December 2020. When a police officer confronted Lee in his car, Lee said he was trying to “get some truth on what’s going on,” according to police body camera footage obtained by CNN.
Mike Roman, Harrison Floyd and Scott Hall
Three more Trump co-defendants in Georgia – Mike Roman, Harrison Floyd and Scott Hall – pleaded not guilty Friday and waived their right to an arraignment hearing.
They were all charged by Willis in her sprawling racketeering case tied to the attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Roman is a former Trump campaign official, Floyd leads the organization Black Voices for Trump, and Hall is a Georgia-based bail bondsman. They all submitted court filings Friday waiving their appearance for an in-person arraignment in Atlanta next week.
Prosecutors charged Roman with seven crimes, including conspiracy to commit forgery, mostly in connection with his role in the Trump campaign’s fake electors plot.
Additionally, Floyd was charged with conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements and writings, and with influencing witnesses, in connection with the intimidation of an Atlanta election worker. He was the only co-defendant not to work out a bond agreement prior to surrendering, and spent roughly five days in the infamous Fulton County Jail before being released earlier this week.
Hall faces a total of seven criminal charges, including two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud in connection with the breach of voting systems in Coffee County.
Several other members of the alleged conspiracy have already pleaded not guilty and waived their September 6 arraignment date. This includes: Trump; former Trump campaign lawyers Jenna Ellis, Sidney Powell and Ray Smith; and publicist Trevian Kutti.