In a shrewd move this Thursday, former President Donald Trump chose to waive his right to an in-person arraignment for the case accusing him and others of attempting to alter the 2020 election results in Georgia. This decision notably deprives the media of the sort of courtroom spectacle they seem to relish, especially given Georgia’s lenient rules allowing news cameras inside courtrooms. Trump’s ‘not guilty’ plea will now not be broadcast live on television, maintaining his consistent stand against unwarranted media attention.
Scheduled for Sept. 6 by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the arraignment would have seen Trump alongside 18 other defendants. By choosing to sidestep this hearing, Trump joins several others who, in a similar vein, opted to save themselves a public courthouse appearance in Atlanta.
This isn’t Trump’s first interaction with the Georgia judicial system concerning this case. On Aug. 24, he made headlines when he turned himself into the Fulton County Jail, subsequently becoming the first former U.S. president to have a mugshot taken.
The 41-count indictment, filed under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), details allegations of a coordinated effort to overturn the state’s election results, favoring Joe Biden over Trump. The intricacy and sheer scale of this RICO case suggest that the path to its conclusion will be intricate and potentially drawn out.
Indeed, legal intricacies have already sprouted. Kenneth Chesebro, one of the defendants and a lawyer accused of executing a dubious plan concerning 16 Georgia Republicans, has been assigned an Oct. 23 trial date. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis desires a collective trial date for all defendants on this day. Contrarily, Steve Sadow, Trump’s attorney, voiced objections and expressed intent to bifurcate Trump’s case from others seeking an expedited trial.
The legal landscape grows even more diverse with certain defendants, including former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, seeking to shift their trials to federal court.
Throughout these proceedings, Trump, leading the pack for the 2024 Republican presidential primary, remains critical of the accusations. He perceives them as a politically charged attempt to obstruct his potential return to the Oval Office.
While the legal maneuvers unfold, Trump’s decision to avoid the media’s courtroom spectacle can be seen as an astute strategy, keeping his narrative controlled and clear amidst the multifaceted legal challenges ahead.