Rudy Giuliani joins 11 co-defendants pleading not guilty in Georgia RICO case

Trump and several of his allies in the Fulton County case will not appear in person for on-camera arraignments

Alex Woodward
Friday 01 September 2023 23:57 BST
'It can happen to anyone': Giuliani addresses press after being booked in Georgia election probe

Rudy Giuliani is pleading not guilty and waiving his arraignment appearance in Georgia after the former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney was charged alongside the former president and 17 others in a sweeping racketeering case in Fulton County.

Mr Giuliani and his co-defendants were formally booked last week on a range of charges connected to an alleged criminal enterprise orchestrated by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn election results, one of the largest criminal cases against the former president to date for crimes allegedly committed while he was in office.

At least a dozen defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty ahead of scheduled arraignment hearings on 6 September, including Mr Trump, attorneys Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro, among the architects of a fraudulent plot to install Trump loyalists as “alternate” electors in states that he lost.

Kanye West’s one-time publicist Trevian Kutti, Stephen Lee and Harrison Floyd are accused of joining a pressure campaign against a Georgia election worker. They have pleaded not guilty. Ray Smith, an attorney for the Trump campaign in Georgia who elevated bogus election fraud claims, also pleaded not guilty.

Each of them have waived their in-person appearances for their scheduled arrangements in Atlanta.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, attorney John Eastman, and former US Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark have not entered a plea as of 1 September. Neither have defendants Shawn Still, David Shafer, Cathy Latham and Misty Hampton.

District Attorney Fani Willis has been investigating alleged efforts from Mr Trump and his allies to overturn election results in the state for more than two years, adding to a long list of criminal investigations and other legal consequences facing the former president.

Mr Giuliani is separately on the hook for damages from a defamation lawsuit from two Georgia election workers whose stories are central to the criminal case in Fulton County.

A federal judge determined this week that Mr Giuliani is liable for defamation claims from Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, as well claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damages, after his false claims and debunked conspiracy theories targeting both women triggered a wave of harassment and death threats against them.

Those claims also are included in a separate federal indictment accusing Mr Trump of three criminal conspiracies and obstruction surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. One of the six unnamed co-conspirators in that indictment is believed to be Mr Giuliani.

The Georgia case has charged him under the state’s RICO statute and he faces three counts of solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer; three counts of false statements and writings; conspiracy to commit impersonation of a public officer; two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree forgery; two counts of conspiracy to commit false statements and writings; and conspiracy to commit filing false documents.

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