UNITED STATES NEWS

Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty in Georgia election case, won’t attend arraignment hearing

Sep 1, 2023, 2:17 PM | Updated: 3:48 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani on Friday pleaded not guilty to Georgia charges that accuse him of trying, along with former President Donald Trump and others, to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state.

In filing his not guilty plea with the court, the former New York mayor and Trump attorney also waived his right to appear at an arraignment hearing set for Sept. 6. He joins the former president and at least 10 others in forgoing a trip to Atlanta to appear before a judge in a packed courtroom with a news camera rolling.

Trump and Giuliani are among 19 people charged in a sprawling, 41-count indictment that details a wide-ranging conspiracy to thwart the will of Georgia’s voters who had selected Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent.

The charges against Giuliani, along with other legal woes, signal a remarkable fall for a man who was celebrated as “America’s mayor” in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attack. He now faces 13 charges, including violation of Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, the federal version of which was one of his favorite tools as prosecutor in the 1980s.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wants to try all 19 defendants together. But the legal wrangling has already begun in a slew of court filings since the indictment was filed Aug. 14.

Several of those charged have filed motions to be tried alone or with a small group of other defendants, while others are trying to move their proceedings to federal court. Some are seeking to be tried quickly under a Georgia court rule that would have their trials start by early November, while others are already asking the court to extend deadlines.

Due to “the complexity, breadth, and volume of the 98-page indictment,” Giuliani asked the judge in Friday’s filing to give him at least 30 days after he receives information about witnesses and evidence from prosecutors to file motions. Normally, pretrial motions are to be filed within 10 days after arraignment.

Also Friday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed a three-person panel to consider whether Shawn Still should be suspended from his state Senate post while his prosecution is ongoing. Under Georgia law, Kemp is supposed to appoint such a panel within 14 days of receiving a copy of the indictment. The panel, in turn, has 14 days to make a written recommendation to Kemp. The Republican governor named Attorney General Chris Carr, as required by the law, as well as Republican state Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and Republican state House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration.

Still is a swimming pool contractor and former state Republican Party finance chairman. He was one of 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors. Still was one of only three members of that group who was indicted.

Still was elected to the Georgia state Senate in November 2022 and represents a district in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. It’s unclear whether the panel will find grounds to suspend Still, because the constitution specifies that officials should be suspended when a felony indictment “relates to the performance or activities of the office.” The three-person commission can have a hearing for Still including lawyers.

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Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed reporting.

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Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty in Georgia election case, won’t attend arraignment hearing