WASHINGTON: Former US president Donald Trump pleaded not guilty on Thursday (Aug 31) to charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to overturn his 2020 election loss in the southern state of Georgia.
The Republican presidential frontrunner, who faces 13 felony counts including racketeering, entered his plea in a court filing waiving his right to appear at an arraignment next Wednesday.
Trump, 77, surrendered to the Fulton County jail in the state capital Atlanta last week and was the first former US president pictured in a police mug shot.
Released on a US$200,000 bond and given the inmate number “PO1135809,” Trump was accused of colluding with 18 other defendants in a multi-pronged attempt to overturn his defeat in Georgia.
The billionaire – who lost the state by fewer than 12,000 votes – has been indicted four times since April, setting the stage for a year of unprecedented drama as he juggles numerous court appearances and another White House campaign.
Trump is asking for his case to be severed from co-defendants who have sought a speedy trial, including Kenneth Chesebro, a Trump campaign lawyer due to go before a jury in October.
Fulton County prosecutors want an October start for every defendant.
Trump’s arrest came a day after he spurned a televised debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin featuring eight of his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination – all of whom lag well behind him in the polls.
During the debate all but two of the candidates said they would support him as the party’s nominee even if he were a convicted felon.
Trump is the first US president in history to face criminal charges.
His various trials, if they take place next year, are set to coincide with the Republican presidential primary season, which begins in January, and the campaign for the November 2024 White House election.