Trump legal news brief: 19 plead not guilty in Georgia; requests for fines, delay in New York

Photo Illustration of Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee
Fulton Country Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Arvin Temkar, Pool/Getty Images)

All 19 defendants in Fulton County waive their right to Wednesday arraignments, while in New York the state attorney general is requesting sanctions on members of the Trump family for reusing a rejected legal argument as the former president seeks a delay in the civil trial.

Georgia election interference

The circus day that wasn’t

Key players: Judge Scott McAfee, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis

  • Former President Donald Trump, his former attorney Rudy Giuliani and 17 other co-defendants accused under Georgia RICO laws of trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election in the state would have been arraigned in a series of 15-minute hearings in front of McAfee on Wednesday. However, all 19 issued not-guilty pleas and waived their rights to one.

  • Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and attorney John Eastman were among the final defendants to enter their pleas, doing so on Tuesday. Trump himself pleaded not guilty and waived his right to an arraignment hearing last week. Trump’s hearing would have begun at 9:30 a.m.

  • On Friday, the final report of the grand jury that issued the RICO charges could be released. Last week, Judge Robert McBurney set the date for release as long as there were no objections.

Why it matters: No trial date has been set for the case yet, although Willis is pushing for all the defendants to be tried together next month. Trump’s legal team has rejected that date and is attempting to separate his case from the other 18.

New York financial fraud civil case

A sanctions request to the state Supreme Court

Key players: New York state Attorney General Letitia James, Trump Organization executive vice president Eric Trump, Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr.

  • In a filing Tuesday, the New York state attorney general’s office asked the state Supreme Court to fine the Trumps and their legal team a total of $20,000 for using previously rejected arguments. James is accusing the Trumps of repeating failed attempts to get the case dismissed or delayed.

  • James’s office has said the court can impose financial sanctions on any party or lawyer in a civil action or proceedings who engages in "frivolous conduct” and that the court said the arguments "were borderline frivolous even the first time defendants made them,” according to NBC News.

  • James announced the charges a year ago and is seeking $250 million in damages as well as sanctions that would prevent business and real estate activities in the state. Last week, the attorney general filed a request asking the judge to acknowledge that the Trumps and their family business had inflated their net worth by billions.

Trump seeks delay

  • While the trial was set to start on Oct. 2, Trump asked for it to be “briefly” delayed in a filing Tuesday night.

  • "A trial of this magnitude should not begin in chaos," the filing said, according to Reuters. "The court and the defendants are entitled to know the claims and issues to be tried sufficiently in advance to prepare adequately for trial."

  • The former president is seeking a three-week delay and is accusing James’s office of making claims based on transactions that fall outside the statute of limitations.

Why it matters: These are some of the final motions before the trial for Trump and his adult sons is set to start sometime next month. Last December, a Manhattan jury found the Trump Organization guilty of 17 counts of tax fraud.