Former President Trump surrendered to authorities in Georgia on Thursday night after being indicted last week and accused of conspiring with allies to overturn the 2020 election that he lost to Joe Biden.
After turning himself in at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Trump was booked and photographed — something that did not happen in the other three jurisdictions in which he has been indicted — making him the first former U.S. president to receive a mug shot. His booking record listed his height as 6 feet, 3 inches and his weight as 215 pounds. His $200,000 bond was set by a judge and made public Monday.
Trump and 18 others were charged last week in a sweeping 41-count indictment that alleged they were involved in a conspiracy to undermine the results of the presidential election in Fulton County, elsewhere in Georgia and in other states by misleading voters, the courts and state and federal lawmakers about the outcome in order to keep Trump in power. Trump faces 13 separate counts in the case.
The investigation by Fulton County Dist. Atty. Fani Willis began in February 2021 after a recording was released of the former president pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during a Jan. 2, 2021, phone call to “find” him 11,780 votes, enough to win in Georgia. The state had certified the results weeks before after conducting three recounts. Trump has insisted that, as president, he behaved appropriately in making the call.
As a condition of his bond, Trump has been instructed to not make direct or indirect threats — including through social media — against potential witnesses, victims or the unindicted co-conspirators mentioned, but not named, in the indictment. He is also barred from communicating about the facts of the case with any known witnesses except through legal counsel.
Before departing for Georgia from his Bedminster, N.J., home, Trump said in a post on his Truth Social platform that he was being arrested “for A PERFECT PHONE CALL, and having the audacity to challenge a RIGGED & STOLEN ELECTION. THE EVIDENCE IS IRREFUTABLE!”
Trump switched up his legal team Thursday as well, enlisting veteran Atlanta defense attorney Steve Sadow as lead attorney in the case in place of Drew Findling. Sadow has been critical of Georgia’s racketeering law in the past, which is broader than the national Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
The indictment lays out a sprawling effort that included false representations in the courts, false accusations made by Trump and others against a pair of poll workers and misusing the Justice Department to try to convince state lawmakers to overturn the results.
The indictment details a plan to assemble a slate of fake electors to secretly meet at the state Capitol to cast ballots for Trump in an effort to throw doubt on the election when Congress met Jan. 6, 2021, to certify the results. It also outlines a campaign to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election during that proceeding and the successful effort to copy the Coffee County, Ga., election system on Jan. 7, 2021.
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows also surrendered Thursday after his bond was set at $100,000. His request to have his arrest delayed as he works to move his case to federal court was rejected Wednesday by a federal judge.
On Thursday, Willis moved her requested trial start date from March 4, 2024, to Oct. 23 of this year after Trump’s co-defendant and former lawyer Kenneth Chesebro filed a request demanding a speedy trial, according to a court filing. Chesebro is accused of organizing slates of fake electors to meet in several states.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee agreed to the Oct. 23 start date for Chesebro’s trial, but stipulated that it does not apply to the other defendants. He has not yet set a trial date for the others. Willis has said she wants to try all 19 defendants at the same time.
Hours before Trump was set to surrender, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) announced an inquiry to determine whether Willis’ investigation was paid for using federal funds or was aided by Department of Justice special counsel Jack Smith, who indicted Trump on Aug. 1 on four felony counts related to efforts to stop the transfer of power after his 2020 election loss and his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection.
Most of Trump’s 18 co-defendants have appeared at the Fulton County Jail over the last few days to be booked ahead of a 9 a.m. Pacific time Friday deadline set by Willis for them to surrender.
Trump’s former personal attorneys Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sidney Powell were processed and released on bond Wednesday along with five others.
On Tuesday, California attorney and Trump ally John Eastman surrendered. He is accused of pressuring Pence to delay Congress’ certification of the election results or to throw out Georgia’s votes, and of helping organize the fake slates of electors in Georgia and other states.