Trump, allies surrender in election interference case

By: and - August 24, 2023 6:49 pm

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on August 24, 2023. Trump is expected to surrender at the Fulton County jail, where he will be booked on 13 charges related to an alleged plan to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump, who is accused of trying to overturn Georgia’s election results, has been booked at the Fulton County Jail, according to the county jail website.

Trump, who was indicted by a grand jury last week, arrived at the Rice Street jail in a sprawling motorcade at 7:34 p.m. Thursday.

Donald J. Trump, former president of the United States, accused of leading a scheme to undermine the 2020 election results, in his Fulton County, Georgia, mugshot taken Aug. 24, 2023. Trump and 18 other defendants were indicted on state RICO and other charges.

Outside the jail, his fans outnumbered his critics as his most ardent backers traveled from all over the country to line up along Rice Street in a show of support. A throng of reporters from all over the world gathered outside the county jail to observe the historic moment.

He had approved a $200,000 bond agreement, which bars him from threatening or intimidating anyone involved in the case – including on social media where the former president is prolific.

The Fulton County indictment represents Trump’s fourth this year. He is charged with violating Georgia’s RICO Act and litany of other charges tied to efforts to overturn the election in a state where he lost by nearly 12,000 votes.

District Attorney Fani Willis requested a special purpose grand jury in early 2022 to investigate whether Trump and his allies illegally interfered in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. She pursued the probe after Trump pressed Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to reverse his loss to Joe Biden.

A grand jury handed up a 41-count indictment against 19 defendants, alleging they were part of a “criminal organization” bent on overturning the 2020 election results by convincing state lawmakers in key states to tap fake electors.

Read the 98-page indictment here.

Earlier in the day

Mark Meadows, who served as chief of staff for former President Donald Trump, turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail.

Mark Meadows, former White House chief of staff accused of abetting President Donald Trump in a scheme to undermine the 2020 election results, in his Fulton County, Georgia, mugshot taken Aug. 24, 2023. Meadows is one of 18 people indicted along with former President Donald Trump on state RICO and other charges.

Meadows, who has been pushing to move his case to federal court, is marked as booked and released on the Fulton County Jail website. He was released on a $100,000 bond.

He is charged with violation of the Georgia RICO Act and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer in an indictment handed up by a grand jury last Monday.

Meadows has a Monday, Aug. 28 court date in federal court where he will argue for his case to be removed from Fulton County Superior Court.

Harrison Floyd has also surrendered at the jail, where he remained in custody as of 3 p.m. Floyd is accused of violation of the Georgia RICO Act, and he also faces charges of conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements and writings and for influencing witnesses for allegedly trying to influence Fulton County poll worker Ruby Freeman’s testimony.

A Washington Post story this week also reported that Floyd is accused of assaulting an FBI agent in connection to Special Counsel Jack Smith’s probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Earlier arrests

As of Wednesday afternoon, a total of nine defendants had turned themselves in at the county jail this week. Trump’s former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, was booked and released Wednesday afternoon after agreeing to a $150,000 bond.

Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney and ex-New York Mayor, surrendered Wednesday afternoon to Fulton County authorities on criminal charges that he illegally conspired with Donald Trump and the former president’s other allies to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Giuliani, 79, faces a 13 count indictment that includes charges he violated Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, committed criminal conspiracy, made false statements and writings, and solicited public officials to violate their oath.

Trump is scheduled to turn himself into the Fulton County jail on Thursday on charges related to being one of the ringleaders in alleged criminal racketeering and conspiring to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia and several other states.

Rudy Guiliani, the former mayor of New York accused of abetting President Donald Trump in a scheme to undermine the 2020 election results, in his Fulton County, Georgia, mugshot taken Aug. 23, 2023. Giuliani is one of 18 people indicted along with former President Donald Trump on state RICO and other charges.

Prior to arriving in Atlanta to meet with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Giuliani defended his involvement in attempting to persuade Georgia lawmakers to appoint an alternate slate of Republican electors to discredit Joe Biden’s close win over the former president in 2020.

Giuliani on Wednesday claimed that his support for Trump was about protecting American rights and compared his actions to his tenure as U.S. attorney in the 1980s, when he took down criminal mafia organizations in New York.

Giuliani also took aim at the indictment alleging that several of Trump’s former campaign and personal attorneys were involved in a criminal conspiracy, framing it as an attack on the First Amendment.

He spoke briefly to reporters gathered outside the county jail Wednesday afternoon, calling the Fulton County case a “ridiculous case in which I’m being prosecuted for defending an American citizen.”

“Five other lawyers are indicted. That should tell you right away that this is a an assault on our Constitution,” Giuliani said in Atlanta. “Fani Willis will go down in American history as having conducted one of the worst attacks on the American Constitution ever when this case is case is dismissed.”

“If they can do this to me, they can do this to you,” he also said.

Three other former Trump attorneys Kenneth Chesebro, Ray Smith and Sidney Powell also turned themselves into the Fulton authorities on Wednesday after negotiating bond agreements.

Powell, who faces seven charges, agreed to a $100,000 bond.

On Wednesday, Chesebro’s lawyers filed a petition for a speedy trial on charges of violating the state’s racketeering act and criminal conspiracy. The charging document against Chesebro alleges that the former Trump campaign lawyer provided an alternate slate of Republican electors with the documents that were intended to be considered as legitimate electoral votes for Trump.

Jenna Ellis, another Trump attorney, was also booked and released Wednesday. Ellis faces two charges and agreed to a $100,000 bond. All told, seven defendants were booked Wednesday, and two surrendered Tuesday.

Trump campaign attorneys Kenneth Chesebro and Ray Smith were booked and released overnight or early Wednesday, as were former state GOP party chairman David Shafer and former Coffee County GOP chair Cathleen Latham.

The remaining defendants have until noon Friday to surrender.

This article was compiled from material initially published by Georgia Recorder, a part of the States Newsroom network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. 

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Jill Nolin
Jill Nolin

Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing stories in the halls of Georgia’s Gold Dome, earning recognition for her work showing the impact of rising opioid addiction on the state’s rural communities. She is a graduate of Troy University.

Stanley Dunlap
Stanley Dunlap

Stanley Dunlap is a reporter for the Georgia Recorder. He has covered government and politics for news outlets in Georgia and Tennessee for the past decade. At The (Macon) Telegraph he told readers about Macon-Bibb County’s challenges implementing its recent consolidation, with a focus on ways the state Legislature determines the fate of local communities. He used open records requests to break a story of a $400 million pension sweetheart deal a county manager steered to a friendly consultant. The Georgia Associated Press Managing Editors named Stanley a finalist for best deadline reporting for his story on the death of Gregg Allman and best beat reporting for explanatory articles on the 2018 Macon-Bibb County budget deliberations. The Tennessee Press Association honored him for his reporting on the disappearance of Holly Bobo, which became a sensational murder case that generated national headlines.