Former President Donald Trump’s one-time chief of staff Mark Meadows pleaded not guilty to racketeering Tuesday, the latest plea in the massive election interference case that has ensnared Meadows, Trump and 17 others.
Meadows waived his right to an arraignment and pleaded not guilty to the two felonies he was charged with last month—one for violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law and one for soliciting a public official to violate their oath.
Former Coffee County election supervisor Misty Hampton is the only one of the 19 co-defendants who has not entered a plea in the case.
Meadows previously agreed to a $100,000 bond, and is trying to have his case moved out of Georgia into federal court, arguing that the venue is inappropriate because their actions at the time fell under federal law.
A Fulton County grand jury indicted Trump and his 18 co-defendants on August 14 on 41 counts related to their efforts to overturn President Joe Biden’s election win in the state, including a racketeering charge filed against each of the defendants. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ office convened a special grand jury in January 2022 to weigh evidence surrounding Trump’s conduct in the wake of the 2020 presidential election and in the lead-up to the January 6 Capitol riots. Trump, in a now-infamous January 2021 phone call, asked Republican Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes he needed to win the state, citing unfounded allegations of fraud. Trump is also accused of attempting to recruit fake electors in Georgia to cast their votes for him instead of Biden during the process to certify Electoral College results. The indictment accuses Meadows—who was on the phone call with Raffensperger—of participating in a campaign to illegally pressure the secretary of state to violate his oath of office, and committing several other acts as part of the racketeering conspiracy.
Meadows is pushing for the case to be moved from state to federal court, arguing his conduct after Trump’s 2020 election loss fell under the scope of his duties as White House chief of staff. He testified in a federal court hearing last week, and a judge is expected to rule on his request.
What To Watch For
Trump and his co-defendants were given a deadline of 48 hours prior to their court dates Wednesday to waive the arraignments by Judge Scott McAfee, so it’s unclear if McAfee will accept Meadows’ plea filed Tuesday, or if he’ll require him to show up Wednesday for his formal arraignment.