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Donald Trump pleads not guilty to Georgia election racketeering charges

(FILES) US President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2020. Former US president Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on August 31, 2023, to charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia.—AFP/file
(FILES) US President Donald Trump departs the White House in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2020. Former US president Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on August 31, 2023, to charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia.—AFP/file 

Former US President Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state of Georgia.

Trump, 77, entered his plea in a court filing waiving his right to appear at an arraignment scheduled for next week. He was indicted by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, on 13 felony counts, including racketeering, conspiracy to commit election interference, and solicitation of election fraud.

The charges allege that Trump and his allies pressured state officials to overturn the election results and that they engaged in a “sweeping and systematic plan” to illegally interfere in the election.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has called the charges “baseless.” He is the first former US president to be indicted on criminal charges.

The case is being prosecuted by the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. A trial date has not yet been set.

Trump’s arrest came a day after he skipped a televised debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, featuring eight of his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. 

All but two of the candidates said they would support Trump as the party’s nominee even if he were convicted of a felony.

The charges against Trump are the latest legal challenge facing the former president. He has also been sued by several individuals and entities who allege that he incited the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing in connection with the Capitol riot. He is scheduled to testify before the House select committee investigating the attack on January 6 later this month.

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