Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has entered a plea of not guilty to racketeering charges in Georgia related to his alleged involvement in assisting Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Alongside 18 co-defendants, Meadows faces a combined 41 charges following an indictment in Fulton County on August 14. Instead of attending an arraignment hearing, Meadows submitted his plea through a court filing. He remains free on a $100,000 bond while awaiting trial.
Meadows has discussed the charges with his lawyer, James Durham, and waived his right to an arraignment hearing. The document was filed on a Friday and posted on the following Tuesday. He continues to seek the transfer of his case from Fulton County Superior Court to federal court, asserting that his former federal position should shield 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 entered not guilty pleas and waived their hearings.
Others, including Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Trevian Kutti, Kenneth Chesebro, Jenna Ellis, Scott Hall, and Ray Smith, had previously filed written pleas of not guilty and waived their rights to a hearing.
Meadows has been striving to move his case to federal court, arguing that he was a federal official at the time and that the actions detailed in the indictment were part of his official duties. However, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones directed Meadows to enter a plea if he hadn’t reached a decision by the arraignment deadline on September 6.
One of the charges against Meadows relates 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, in which he urged Raffensperger to “find” the votes necessary for Trump to win the state. By that point, Trump had attempted to call Raffensperger 18 times, with Raffensperger avoiding the calls, as per 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.”