Mark Meadows pleads not guilty to charges in Georgia election case and waives right to arraignment

Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Oct. 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges accusing him of participating in an illegal scheme to try to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia and will not appear in court in Atlanta this week.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee had scheduled arraignment hearings for Wednesday for Meadows, former President Donald Trump and the other 17 people charged last month in a sprawling indictment. By midday Tuesday, all but one of the defendants had pleaded not guilty in filings with the court and waived their rights to an arraignment hearing.

During an arraignment hearing, defendants have the right to have the charges against them read and to enter a formal plea.

Trump pleaded not guilty in a court filing Thursday and Giuliani entered his plea Friday, with the rest of the pleas trickling in over several days. Misty Hampton, the former elections director in Coffee County, was the only one who had yet to waive arraignment.

Meadows and four others are seeking to move the charges against them to federal court. But during a hearing last week on Meadows’ request, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones made clear that if he had not ruled by the arraignment date or if the case was not moved to federal court, Meadows would not be excused from arraignment.