Rudy Giuliani joins six co-defendants pleading not guilty in Georgia RICO case

Rudy Giuliani is pleading not guilty and waiving his arraignment appearance in Georgia after the former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney was charged alongside the former president and 17 others in a sweeping racketeering case in Fulton County.

Mr Giuliani and his co-defendants were formally booked last week on a range of charges connected to an alleged criminal enterprise orchestrated by Mr Trump and his allies to overturn election results, one of the largest criminal cases against the former president to date for crimes allegedly committed while he was in office.

Seven defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty ahead of scheduled arraignment hearings on 6 September, including Mr Trump, attorneys Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, and Kenneth Chesebro, among the architects of a fraudulent plot to install Trump loyalists as “alternate” electors in states that he lost.

Kanye West’s one-time publicist Trevian Kutti, who allegedly joined a pressure campaign against a Georgia election worker, and Ray Smith, an attorney for the Trump campaign in Georgia who elevated bogus election fraud claims, have also pleaded not guilty.

Each of them have waived their in-person appearances for their scheduled arrangements in Atlanta.

District Attorney Fani Willis has been investigating alleged efforts from Mr Trump and his allies to overturn election results in the state for more than two years, adding to a long list of criminal investigations and other legal consequences facing the former president.

Mr Giuliani is separately on the hook for damages from a defamation lawsuit from two Georgia election workers whose stories are central to the criminal case in Fulton County.

A federal judge determined this week that Mr Giuliani is liable for defamation claims from Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, as well claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy, and punitive damages, after his false claims and debunked conspiracy theories targeting both women triggered a wave of harassment and death threats against them.

Those claims also are included in a separate federal indictment accusing Mr Trump of three criminal conspiracies and obstruction surrounding his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. One of the six unnamed co-conspirators in that indictment is believed to be Mr Giuliani.

This is a developing story

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