Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has entered a not-guilty plea to Georgia racketeering charges related to his alleged efforts to aid Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. Meadows and 18 co-defendants were indicted in Fulton County on August 14 on a combined 41 charges. Instead of appearing at an arraignment hearing, Meadows filed his plea through a court filing. He remains free on a $100,000 bond pending trial.
Meadows has discussed the charges with his lawyer, James Durham, and waived his right to an arraignment hearing. He filed the document on Friday, and it was posted on Tuesday. He is continuing to seek the transfer of his case from Fulton County Superior Court to federal court, arguing that his former federal position should protect him from state-level charges. Four co-defendants, including former assistant attorney general Jeffrey Clark, Georgia Republican Party Chairman David Shafer, state Sen. Shawn Still, and Cathy Latham, have also pleaded not guilty to their charges and waived their hearings.
Others, including Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Trevian Kutti, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, Scott Hall, and Ray Smith, have previously filed written pleas of not guilty and waived their rights to a hearing.
Meadows has been seeking to move his case to federal court, contending that he was a federal official at the time and that the actions outlined in the indictment were part of his official duties. However, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones instructed Meadows to enter a plea if he hadn’t made a decision by the arraignment deadline on September 6.
Among the charges against Meadows is one related to soliciting Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to violate his oath of office. Meadows was involved in Trump’s call on January 2, 2021, urging Raffensperger to “find” the votes needed for Trump to win the state. At that point, Trump had attempted to call Raffensperger 18 times, with Raffensperger avoiding the calls, according to a House investigation. During the call, Trump was recorded saying, “I just want to find 11,780 votes. Give me a break. You know, we have that in spades already.”