Meadows and Eastman waive arraignments

September 5, 2023

Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and attorney John Eastman on Tuesday waived arraignment and pleaded “not guilty” in Fulton County related to the attempt to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election.

The pair are among 19 co-defendants, including former President Trump, who were indicted by a grand jury last week related to attempts to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election. The indictments followed a years-long investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

All 19 co-defendants face racketeering charges. Meadows also faces an additional charge of solicitation of violating an oath by a public officer.

Eastman, the author of the fake electors scheme to try to overturn President Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory, is also charged with such additional crimes as conspiring to commit false statements and writings, and forgery.

As of Tuesday morning, only one of the 19 co-defendants—former Coffee County, Georgia election supervisor Misty Hampton—had not entered a plea in the case. Her arraignment was set for 3pm ET Wednesday. 

All of the co-defendants have previously turned themselves in and had their mug shots taken.

Judge Scott McAfee, who is presiding over the case, previously said the defendants could formally waive their arraignment within 48 hours of Wednesday’s court date.

Meadows is meanwhile awaiting a ruling from U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in Atlanta on whether he can sever his case from the other racketeering co-defendants and have it moved to federal court.

Meadows testified last week that that all of the actions related to his charges occurred as part of his service as Chief of Staff. Willis’ legal team countered that claim by arguing that the actions in question were intended solely to keep Trump in office, meaning that they were explicitly political in nature and illegal under the Hatch Act, which restricts partisan political activity by federal employees.

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