Allegations of election manipulation: Trump's ex-lawyer Giuliani pleads not guilty

Former US President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, has denied allegations of attempted manipulation of the 2020 presidential election in an Arizona state court. Giuliani made his brief statement via video link on Tuesday. Like him, ten co-defendants pleaded not guilty at the same court hearing.

The Phoenix court ordered former New York mayor Giuliani to post bail of $10,000 (about 9,200 euros) after he spent days evading a summons to appear in court and even posted provocative messages to prosecutors online. The summons was finally served on Giuliani during a party on Friday in the US state of Florida to mark his 80th birthday, according to a report by CNN.

Giuliani played a leading role in Trump's massive attempts to retrospectively overturn his election defeat against current President Joe Biden. In Arizona, Giuliani and a total of 17 other representatives of the Trump camp have been charged with conspiracy to prevent the election. The Republican Trump narrowly lost in the southwestern state at the time, which was a decisive factor in the overall victory of the Democrat Biden in the election.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office accuses Giuliani, among other things, of having put pressure on officials to subsequently change the election result in Trump's favor. According to the prosecutor, as part of the alleged plot, Trump supporters were to be sent as illegitimate Arizona representatives to the Electoral College, which ultimately elects the president based on the results in the individual states.

Among the co-defendants who appeared in court with Giuliani on Tuesday were nine of these alleged “fake electors.” Those charged in Arizona for alleged attempts to rig the election also include Trump's former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and his former campaign adviser, Boris Epshteyn.

Trump, who will most likely run against Biden again in the presidential election next November, continues to claim that he was actually cheated out of an election victory in 2020. However, his allegations of electoral fraud have been repeatedly and clearly refuted.

Trump himself is also facing criminal charges in the US state of Georgia and in a federal court in Washington for his attempts to retroactively overturn the election result. However, it is uncertain when the trials for these two cases could begin.