Former President Donald Trump turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta on Thursday evening, facing over a dozen charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in Georgia, according to prosecutors.
Arriving at 7:30 pm, he was accompanied by a convoy of Secret Service vehicles and law enforcement officials, having flown on his private jet from his home in Bedminster, New Jersey. After his booking, Trump made a brief and defiant statement, asserting his belief in his right to challenge the election results and expressing his view that the legal proceedings were unjust.
Supporters and critics of Trump gathered earlier in the day outside the jail, separated by barricades, displaying signs, using megaphones, and waving flags. This spectacle combined with a heavy media presence and tight security, creating the media frenzy that seemed in line with Trump’s expectations.
Trump and 18 associates are facing charges in connection with a broad racketeering scheme, which includes allegations of spreading conspiracy theories, pressuring elected officials, and promoting false electors to overturn the election outcome in Georgia. The charges resulted from a two-year investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
This marks the fourth instance of criminal charges against Trump. He is now facing a total of 91 felony counts in New York for payments to Stormy Daniels, federal charges in Florida for mishandling classified documents, federal charges in Washington, D.C. for his actions surrounding the Capitol riot, and now charges in Georgia.
Sheriff Pat Labat emphasized that Trump’s treatment was in accordance with standard procedures for anyone accused of a crime, despite the extraordinary circumstances of a former president facing legal action. Notably, this surrender included the taking of a mugshot, a first for a former U.S. president, with the photo set to be released by the county sheriff’s office.
Trump, a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has consistently denied wrongdoing in all the cases against him, continuously echoing baseless claims of election fraud. In reality, he lost the 2020 election to Biden, including in Georgia by a margin of around 11,779 votes.
During his remarks, Trump reiterated his belief that these charges were politically motivated attempts to undermine his future candidacy. He framed the legal actions as interference in the electoral process and criticized the unprecedented nature of the situation.
The terms of Trump’s release, established the previous week, involve a $200,000 bond and strict limitations on his use of social media. He must adhere to all laws in Georgia and beyond, appear in court as required, communicate about the case only through his legal team, and avoid intimidating co-defendants or witnesses.
Shortly before his surrender, Trump replaced one of his main attorneys with Steve Sadow, a well-regarded criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta. This shift was in line with Trump’s pattern of frequently changing legal representation as his legal challenges mount.
Most of Trump’s co-defendants have already surrendered, including figures like Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff, and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s former personal lawyer. Meadows had sought to delay his surrender pending a decision on moving his case to federal court, but this request was denied by a federal judge.
For the remaining co-defendants yet to surrender, they have until noon on Friday before arrest warrants are issued. Willis initially suggested a trial start date of March 4, which could add to Trump’s legal responsibilities as he navigates the 2024 election season. However, Trump is attempting to postpone the trial, including through pre-trial motions and a petition to move the proceedings to federal court. Legal experts find Willis’ timeline unlikely, although she recently filed a motion to advance the trial date to October 23 in response to a request from one of the co-defendants.