Washington: Former US President Donald Trump is mulling over skipping his appearance in the Fulton County Court at Atlanta in Georgia on September 6, and instead permit his attorney to enter his plea in writing.
Trump is scheduled to return to the city next week as all the 18 co-defendants in the election racketeering case will appear in a courtroom and plead to the charges brought against them by District Attorney (DA) Fani Willis.
Trump is, however, considering skipping the September 6 court date, as the state law allows, an have his attorney enter his plea in writing instead. If that happens, it would make Georgia the only one of the four criminal cases he’s facing where he does not enter his plea in person, according to CBS News reports.
DA Fani Willis’ case is still in the nascent stages and Trump along with some of his 18 co-defendants has signalled that they have no interest in seeing their proceedings resolved anytime soon.
However, according to media reports, Willis capitulated on a motion filed by indicted former Trump attorney Kenneth Chesebro to have his trial start on October 23 to ask a judge to start the other defendants’ trials also at the same time — unless they object.
Media reports said that one could expect plenty of the accused to do so, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.
Trump has personally appeared at arraignments in courthouses in New York City, Miami and Washington, but reportedly he may decide to skip a court appearance in Georgia and enter his plea in writing, CBS News said.
Meanwhile, a top Georgian Republican is considering sanctioning DA Willis over Trump indictment. Steve Gooch, the majority leader of the Republicans and the chief whip in Georgia Senate, said the party is considering whether to sanction Fulton County DA Fani Willis.
Republicans in the Congress have supported Donald Trump’s defence as Georgia prosecutors brought charges against him this year.
The GOP controls the legislature in the Peach State, and in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published on Wednesday, Gooch said: “We firmly believe that Willis’ office is being used for political purposes, and that it’s being weaponised against Republican candidates running for office.”
People in this state are angry on both sides of this issue. Yet, a majority of the Republican base feels there was fraud in the 2020 presidential elections and that it was not completely vetted properly, Gooch was quoted as saying. A lot of people are upset and feel they haven’t been heard, he said.
Gooch said the party is considering hearing witnesses to testify about “how the DA’s office is being run”.
Willis could face complaints under a new law coming into force on October 1 on creating a commission to discipline prosecutors, that goes up to their eventual removal.
Meanwhile, a federal judge has rejected the crucial defence offered by former Donald advisor Peter Navarro, paving his trial on contempt charges related to defying a subpoena from the January 6 Congressional committee, media reports said.
Navarro had declined two subpoenas from the bipartisan committee investigating the Capitol attack and was thus indicted. One of them demanded documents and the other required him to sit for a deposition. Navarro, while facing the criminal trial, argued that Trump had invoked executive privilege, which would prevent him from cooperating with the summons.
But in a hearing to consider pre-trial motions in the case, federal judge Amit Mehta rejected that defence, seen as vital to pre-empt Navarro’s conviction, The Guardian reported.
As many events unfolded on Wednesday, former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrios’s sentencing on charges of seditious conspiracy has been rescheduled to 5 September, due to unspecified logistical issues, media outlet Politico reported.
Tarrio was scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday. Federal prosecutors have demanded Tarrio serve a sentence of 33 years for his involvement in the attacks on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 that tried to decertify Trump’s loss in the 2020 elections. This would be the longest sentence connected to the January 6 attacks.