Trump Booked at Atlanta Jail After Surrendering on Election Charges

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Donald Trump has now seen the inside of a jail.

The former President surrendered to authorities at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Thursday to face charges that he illegally schemed to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.

It’s the fourth time in six months Trump has surrendered himself to face criminal charges. In March, he was charged with falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment during his 2016 campaign. In June, he was charged with refusing to return classified documents. In early August, he was slapped with charges for his actions to try to overturn the 2020 election results

The case against him in Georgia is the first time authorities are requiring Trump to be booked inside a jail and stand for a mug shot. Trump’s previous appearances were in courthouses where judges agreed to waive his need to be weighed and have his picture taken. In Atlanta, Trump agreed to pay the required $200,000 bond and other conditions of his release, including pledging to not intimidate any witnesses or co-defendants online.

The Fulton County booking system recorded Trump as having “blond or strawberry” hair, blue eyes, a height of 6’3” and weight of 215 pounds. The mug shot had not been released as of Thursday evening.

Trump has repeatedly promoted his multiple criminal indictments in fundraising pleas for his 2024 presidential campaign, raising millions of dollars off being caught in the grinding wheels of the American judicial system. Trump has painted the charges as an orchestrated effort by Democrats to stop him from winning back the White House, claiming that he’s being persecuted in a broader effort to silence his supporters.

It’s a political talking point that’s so far resonated with Republican primary voters. Despite the serious felony allegations against him, Trump leads the Republican primary race by a wide margin. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll from mid-August showed that 52% of registered Republicans preferred Trump as their candidate, giving him a 40-point lead over the runner up in the polling, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

The case against Trump in Georgia

Fani Willis, the Fulton County District Attorney, began investigating Trump in early 2021 after a recording was released of the former President asking Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” 11,780 votes—one more than the margin of his loss in the decisive swing state. Raffensperger refused, claiming that Georgia officials had already counted the vote three times, won multiple lawsuits over the outcome and debunked extravagant fraud claims by Trump’s team. Trump has maintained he did nothing wrong in contacting the state officials, describing the phone call as “absolutely perfect.”

The Fulton County investigation soon expanded to other alleged efforts by Trump and his allies, including the breach of voting data in Georgia’s rural Coffee County, the targeted abuse and harassment of state election workers, and the orchestrated attempt to send slates of alternate electors to Congress to undermine the will of voters. 

Trump was charged with 13 counts in the case, including violating state racketeering laws and soliciting a public official to violate his oath of office, conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree, conspiring to file false documents, and making false statements. 

More than a dozen of Trump’s associates were also charged under Georgia’s anti-racketeering law for conspiring to nullify the election, including Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor who was Trump’s personal attorney at the time; former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows; attorneys John Eastman and Kenneth Cheseboro, both of whom devised a scheme to send alternate Trump electors to the Electoral College; and other lawyers in Trump’s orbit who pushed wild or legally dubious theories for how to reverse the election outcome, such as Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis. A handful of Georgia-based Trump attorneys and advisers were also included in the indictment.

Speaking to reporters at the Atlanta airport after being booked, Trump said that he did “nothing wrong” and called the case a “travesty of justice.” He added: “We have every right to challenge an election we think is dishonest.”

Here’s what’s next

With his latest legal challenge, Trump is now facing the prospect of being put on trial at least seven times in the next year, clogging up his campaign calendar with multiple court appearances that intersect with key events on the 2024 political schedule. Prosecutors in the case have proposed that the trial start on October 23, 2023, which is the same month he will stand trial in a civil fraud suit. Trump’s lawyers have asked for a 2026 trial.

Of all the prosecutions targeting Trump, the case against him in Georgia could carry the most risk for the former President. Unlike the other four criminal cases, Trump cannot escape the charges with a payoff or self-pardon if he returns to the White House.

Trump’s rivals in the 2024 presidential race have been wary of directly attacking the former President, who remains the undisputed frontrunner in the crowded field. All but two of Trump’s rivals said at the first Republican debate on Wednesday night they would support his campaign if he wins the nomination—even if he’s convicted in any of the cases before the election.

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