ATLANTA: Donald Trump is due to report to an Atlanta jail on Thursday evening to face charges stemming from his effort to overturn his 2020 election loss, in the fourth criminal case brought against the Republican former U.S. president this year.
Like other criminal defendants in Atlanta, Trump will have to appear at the Fulton County Jail to be fingerprinted and photographed – a mug shot that is certain to be widely circulated by backers and detractors alike as he campaigns to win back the presidency in the November 2024 election.
Trump faces 13 felony counts including racketeering, which is typically used to target organized crime, for pressuring state officials to reverse his election loss in Georgia to Democratic President Joe Biden. He was charged after an investigation led by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Trump, 77, has denied wrongdoing and has called this criminal case as well as the other three politically motivated. He is due to enter a plea in the Georgia case on Sept. 5 and has pleaded not guilty in the other three other cases.
He has agreed to post $200,000 bond and accepted bail conditions that would bar him from threatening witnesses or his 18 co-defendants in the case. Trump on Wednesday added Atlanta criminal defense attorney Steve Sadow to his legal team, a court filing showed.
The Federal Aviation Administration ordered that the airspace over the jail be closed beginning around 6:45 p.m. ET (2245 GMT), citing “VIP movement.” The jail has a reputation for grim conditions that have inspired rap songs and prompted an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
About a dozen Trump supporters, some holding flags, gathered outside the jail awaiting his arrival.
“I’m here because I’m appalled at what’s happening,” said Bob Kunst, 81, a retiree who said he had driven from Miami Beach and stood outside the jailhouse with a homemade sign that read “Lock Biden Up.”
Trump called for nationwide protests after his first criminal indictment in New York in March, prompting fears of violent unrest along the lines of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Authorities have reported no violent incidents outside the courthouses in Manhattan, Miami and Washington where he has been arraigned this year.
Trump’s planned jailhouse visit comes a day after his rivals in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination met in Milwaukee for their initial debate. Trump skipped that event, instead sitting for a pre-taped interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
“I’ve been indicted four times – all trivial nonsense,” Trump said.
Trump’s lead in opinion polls in the Republican race has widened since his first indictment, and his supporters echo his contention that the charges are politically motivated. But analysts have said Trump’s legal woes could alienate the independent voters he would need to win in a general election rematch with Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 popular vote by 7 million votes.
In Georgia, Trump is accused of pressuring state officials and setting up a slate of illegitimate electors for the formal congressional certification process of the 2020 election results to try to reverse his defeat. Trump has made false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
Nine of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in the Georgia case, including his former lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, have surrendered to authorities. The remaining eight face a Friday deadline to comply or face arrest.
Trump, the first former U.S. president to be charged with any crime, faces 91 separate criminal counts overall. He was charged in Washington, D.C., after an investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith into his efforts to overturn the election, in Florida over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office also in a case pursued by Smith, and in New York over hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election in a case led by the Manhattan district attorney.