ATLANTA (AP) — Rudy Giuliani pleaded not guilty Friday to charges in Georgia that accuse him of illegally quashing, along with former President Donald Trump and others, the results of the state’s 2020 election.
By entering his not guilty plea in court, the former mayor of New York and Trump’s lawyer also waived his right to appear at a pretrial hearing that was scheduled for September 6. He joins the former president and at least ten others in waiving a trip to Atlanta. to appear before a judge in a packed courtroom with a rolling news camera.
Trump and Giuliani are among 19 people charged in a comprehensive 41-count indictment detailing an elaborate conspiracy to thwart the will of Georgia’s voters, who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent.
The charges against Giuliani, along with other legal troubles, mark a remarkable fall for a man celebrated as “America’s mayor” in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. He now faces thirteen charges, including violation of Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, the federal version of which was one of his favorite tools as a prosecutor in the 1980s.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has said she wants to try all 19 defendants together. But legal wrangling has already begun in a slew of lawsuits since the indictment was filed on Aug. 14.
Several of the defendants have filed requests to be tried alone or with a small group of other defendants, while others are seeking to move their proceedings to federal court. Some want a speedy trial under a Georgia court ruling that their trials should begin in early November, while others are already asking the court to extend the deadlines.
Because of “the complexity, breadth and size of the 98-page indictment,” Giuliani asked the judge in Friday’s trial to give him at least 30 days after receiving witness information and evidence from prosecutors to file motions to serve. Normally, preliminary applications must be submitted within 10 days of arraignment.
On Friday, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp appointed a three-person panel to consider whether Shawn Still should be suspended from his Senate position while his prosecution is ongoing. Under Georgia law, Kemp is expected to appoint such a panel within fourteen days of receiving a copy of the indictment. The panel, in turn, has fourteen days to issue written advice to Kemp. The Republican governor nominated Attorney General Chris Carr, as required by law, as well as Republican Senate Majority Leader Steve Gooch and Republican House Majority Leader Chuck Efstration.
Still is a swimming pool contractor and former chairman of the Republican Party’s finance department. He was one of 16 Georgia Republicans to sign a certificate falsely declaring Trump won the state and declaring themselves “duly elected and qualified” voters of the state. Still was one of only three members of that group to be charged.
Still was elected to the Georgia State Senate in November 2022 and represents a district in Atlanta’s northern suburbs. It’s unclear if the panel will find reasons to suspend Still, because the constitution states that public officials must be suspended when a charge of a crime “relates to the performance or activities of the agency.” The three-member committee can hear Still, including lawyers.
Associated Press writer Jeff Amy contributed to the coverage.