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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Former President Trump Turns Himself In at Atlanta Jail for Alleged Georgia Election Interference

Trump turned himself in to the Fulton County prison in Atlanta on Thursday, where he was charged on 13 felony counts related to his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in the state of Georgia.

It was a remarkable scene: a former U.S. president arriving in Atlanta on his private plane and voluntarily surrendering at a jail facility with concertina wire and signs directing visitors to the “prisoner intake” section.

Two worlds met in ways never before seen in American politics as Mr. Trump’s black S.U.V. convoy travelled to the prison through cleared streets preceded by more than a dozen police motorcycles, a journey filmed by news helicopters and carried live on national television. An ex-president of the United States entered an infamous prison that has been referenced in rap songs and is the subject of a Department of Justice investigation over unclean and hazardous circumstances, including accusations that a “incarcerated person died covered in insects and filth.”

Mr. Trump has been charged with a fourth crime already this year, although he was just put into prison on Thursday.

In the course of his 20 minutes there, Mr. Trump cooperated with the standard procedures for criminal defendant intake. His fingerprints were collected and he was given a mug photo. His official identifier is P01135809. However, the booking process for Mr. Trump was much quicker than it is for most defendants; his record appeared in Fulton County’s booking system minutes after he entered the jail, where he was described as having “blond or strawberry” hair, standing 6 feet 3 inches tall, and weighing 215 pounds. This was 24 pounds less than the weight the White House doctor reported Mr. Trump weighing in 2018.

All day long, outside in the muggy Atlanta heat, Trump fans and opponents had assembled. The press was barred from the event. In an unusual move, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office denied entry to the parking area just in front of the main entrance of the prison to the local media.

Mr. Trump appeared belligerent as he boarded his jet to leave Atlanta. According to him, the Georgia case was a “travesty of justice.”

On Monday, a judge set the price for the case at $200,000, and the former president paid $20,000 to Charles Shaw of Foster Bail Bonds, a commercial bondsman, to post the amount.

Mr. Trump recruited Steven H. Sadow, a seasoned criminal defence lawyer in Atlanta whose clients have included notable rappers, at the last minute before he surrendered on Thursday. Mr. Sadow claimed in a court document that he had been appointed “lead counsel of record for Donald John Trump.”

On Thursday, attorneys on both sides of the lawsuit submitted many legal papers. Fulton County district attorney Fani T. Willis first requested a trial date of January 23, but when one of the 19 defendants, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, urged a quick trial, she asked a court to fix the date for October 23.

Mr. Trump’s objection to the timing suggests he would want to do things at a slower pace. The trial date in October was allowed by the court, but just for Mr. Chesebro. However, the trial date cannot be set in stone until some of the defendants’ attempts to transfer the case to federal court are determined.

In the indictment that was made public last week, Mr. Trump is listed as one of the primary defendants. To demonstrate how Mr. Trump and numerous of his friends collaborated to try to reverse the results of the election in Georgia, prosecutors utilised a state version of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act, or RICO.

The RICO Act is often utilised in cases involving the mafia and other criminal organisations. In the Georgia indictment, Mr. Trump and his co-defendants are charged with impersonating a public authority, forgery, submitting false papers, influencing witnesses, conspiracy to defraud the state, and “acts involving theft,” among other charges.

After a video surfaced of Donald Trump telling Georgia’s secretary of state Brad Raffensperger that he wanted to “find” 11,780 votes—just one more than he needed to win the state and its Electoral College votes—Ms. Willis started her inquiry. After the conversation with Mr. Raffensperger, Mr. Trump said it went “absolutely perfect.”

In the two weeks after Mr. Trump’s first indictment in March, which accused him of participating in a hush-money conspiracy to cover up a possible sex scandal, his campaign reported collecting $15 million.

Mr. Trump’s campaign claimed $7 million in donations after an indictment in Miami involving confidential information in June.

Mr. Trump sent out a fundraising email on Thursday, just hours before he was scheduled to be booked. He said that the purpose of his detention and the four false charges was to discourage Americans from casting ballots in the next 2024 election by sowing fear among the populace.

Recent surveys have shown that the majority of people believe the criminal accusations against Mr. Trump are justified. However, Mr. Trump continues to have a solid position among Republican supporters and a sizable advantage over his Republican primary opponents.

Mr. Trump’s followers gathered outside the Fulton County prison at the crack of dawn on Monday in the hopes of catching a sight of the former president. Atlanta accountant Rick Hearn, 44, took a poster with him that depicted President Trump and Nelson Mandela in jail cells together and labelled them as “political prisoners.”

Jonathan James
Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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