What is a conviction? Trump just avoided the fourth in Georgia

Donald Trump has dropped his appeal in the Georgia election meddling case – a move that means he can now avoid what would have been his first televised impeachment hearing.

The former president pleaded not guilty on August 31 to the massacres on 13 counts accusing him of running a criminal enterprise to stay in power at all costs.

“As evidenced by my signature below, I hereby waive formal trial and state that I am NOT INTOLERANT to indictment in this case,” the filing states.

Now, he will no longer appear for his arraignment scheduled for Sept. 6 in Fulton County Court.

The trial would be his fourth since a grand jury in Georgia indicted the former president and 18 other defendants on Aug. 14 on 13 counts related to his alleged efforts to change the outcome of the state's 2020 election.

The charges stem from a years-long investigation by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.

It is the fourth criminal charge Trump has faced so far this year.

The former president was first indicted in New York for allegedly falsifying business records to hide hush-hush payments, second federally indicted for allegedly mishandling classified documents, and most recently federally indicted for his efforts to sway the 2020 election.

For his part, Mr Trump has strongly denied any wrongdoing and has repeatedly insisted he is the victim of a costly “witch hunt” by the Joe Biden administration, which he claims has weaponized the US justice system against him to thwart his proposed policy come back.

What is a grand jury?

In the American legal system, a grand jury is simply a group of randomly selected American citizens called by United States federal or state law to conduct legal proceedings, primarily to weigh the evidence in a criminal case to determine whether there is a sufficient basis on which charges should be laid.

Unlike a trial, a unanimous verdict is not required. Usually, only 12 of a grand jury of 16 to 23 people need to vote to indict a person for it to take place.

All grand jury proceedings are secret under Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the burden of proof for a prosecution is lower than in a trial, with the majority relying only on “probable cause » secure an indictment.

What is an indictment?

If a grand jury decides in favor of formal charges, then an indictment is issued against the subject, which serves as formal notice that the state has reason to believe the person has committed a crime.

An indictment does not determine guilt or innocence, but is a required procedural step in a criminal proceeding.

What is a conviction?

After the state secures an indictment, it can take a case to trial.

At a hearing, which takes place before a judge, defendants are read the charges they face and the maximum penalties they carry, and are then given the opportunity to plead guilty, no contest, or guilty.

If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, the case usually proceeds to sentencing.

If the defendant pleads not guilty, the judge will set bail conditions and dates for subsequent events in the case, including any pretrial hearings and possible trial, which can sometimes occur months or years after the original sentencing date.

Trump was arraigned in New York for the state case on April 4, in Miami for the first federal case on June 13, and again in Washington in response to the second federal indictment on August 3.

He was expected to be arraigned Sept. 6 in Georgia before he entered a plea and dropped his lawsuit.

Several of his co-defendants have also dropped their charges. It remains to be seen if the others will now follow.

So where is Trump in all this?

The former president has already been indicted four times. Once by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg for his alleged role in the hush money scheme. Twice by Mr. Smith, the first time for his alleged mishandling of classified documents in Florida and the second time for his alleged efforts to subvert the 2020 election and subsequent insurgency. Then from Ms Willis about his alleged role in trying to overturn the election results in Georgia.

The former commander-in-chief has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Trump has been released on three charges, with a fourth pending, and is not expected to be held in jail pending a possible trial in either case.

Of course, he is running for president again and is the current leader in the polls for the Republican presidential nomination, leaving behind Ron DeSandis, Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Chris Christie, who could make things interesting in future.

His trial dates will likely intersect with his campaign schedule.

Judge Chutkan has set the date for his federal trial for interfering with the 2020 election to begin on March 4, 2024 in Washington, DC. Judge Cannon set May 20, 2024 as the start date for Mr Trump's classified documents trial in Florida. His hush-hush trial is set for March 25, 2024 in Manhattan.