Mark Meadows and five others pleaded not guilty Tuesday in the Georgia 2020 election meddling case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Meadows, a former White House chief of staff, former Trump campaign attorney John Eastman, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former Georgia State GOP chairman David Shafer, state Sen. Shawn Still and former Coffee County GOP chair Cathleen Latham each waived their arraignments in addition to entering their pleas, court documents show.
So far, eighteen of the 19 defendants charged in the Fulton County case have entered not guilty pleas. The remaining defendant, former Coffee County election official Misty Hampton, will be arraigned in person Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. ET, if she does not enter a plea and waive her arraignment beforehand.
Meadows and more than a dozen others were charged out of Willis’ probe into former President Donald Trump’s alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. The group is accused of violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering RICO law by assisting Trump in his effort to convince state officials to appoint an alternate set of Electoral College electors and find evidence of voter fraud.
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Willis’ indictment against Meadows cited a Jan. 2, 2021 phone call in which Trump requested that Raffensperger “find votes” to overturn the state’s election results. Meadows was on the phone call as well, and Willis argues that his participation constituted illegal solicitation of a state official to violate his oath.
Meadows has sought to move his case out of state court and into federal court, where he would argue to have the charges dismissed. He contends that his actions were done in his capacity as a federal official at the time, and therefore he should be immune to prosecution.
Four other codefendants have sought to have their case moved to federal court, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark and former Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer.
Clark is charged with two counts in the Fulton County case. He served as acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division during Trump’s final months in office, and colleagues have testified he was a “true believer” that the 2020 election had been stolen, according to NBC News.
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Clark reportedly flouted DOJ policy and met directly with the White House regarding election conspiracies, rather than going through proper channels. He asked Trump to appoint him acting attorney general to pursue claims of voting irregularities, but Trump did not do so after senior Justice Department officials threatened to resign.
Shafer faces charges for eight state crimes. In 2020, he accused Fulton County officials of improperly handling the election process. He is now accused of organizing a fake set of electors to supplant the legitimate Electoral College electors for Joe Biden.
Still, who currently serves as a Republican in the Georgia Senate, was one of the “alternate electors” who participated in the alleged plot to overturn election results. He was subpoenaed by the Jan. 6 committee.
Eastman, a former dean of Chapman University law school in Southern California, faces charges related to his advice to Trump on how the former president could overturn the 2020 election.
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He was the author of a memo that argued Trump could stay in power if then-Vice President Mike Pence refused to certify the 2020 Electoral College results during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. Eastman proposed that several contested states, including Georgia, put in place a slate of “alternate” electors who would claim that Trump had won their states based on unproven allegations of fraud.
Latham, a former school teacher, is charged with 11 counts for helping Trump’s team gain access to county voting systems.
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Trump was charged with one count of violation of the Georgia RICO Act, three counts of criminal solicitation, six counts of criminal conspiracy, one count of filing false documents and two counts of making false statements.
He has pleaded not guilty.
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Fox News’ Brooke Singman, David Spunt, Bill Mears, Anders Hagstrom and Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.
Source: FOX News