The 77-year-old former president will turn himself in to the notorious Fulton County Jail, on charges of conspiring with 18 other defendants to try to overturn the state’s 2020 US election results.
The real estate billionaire’s surrender in his fourth and final criminal case marked the start of a year filled with unprecedented trial drama as he tries to balance campaigning and prison appearances.
Trump’s surrender came a day after he chose to be absent from the inaugural US presidential debate which was televised from Milwaukee, Wisconcin. The debate featured eight of Trump’s contenders for the Republican ticket, all of whom are still trailing far behind the former president in opinion polls.
Even so, Trump remained in the spotlight when six candidates expressed their support if Trump was elected as a presidential candidate from the Republican camp despite being found guilty in the cases that ensnared him.
In a pre-recorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson – which aired on platform X, formerly known as Twitter, at the same time as the presidential candidate debates – Trump denied all four criminal charges and called them all “nonsense.” blank.”
He also said that the US Department of Justice had “armed” US President Joe Biden, from the Democrat Party, to paralyze his candidacy. The 46-minute video interview was viewed more than 200 million times, but it’s unclear how many people watched it and how long they watched it.
Laurie Arbeiter of New York City stands among Trump supporters outside the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. (AP/Ben Gray)
Tight security had been put in place ahead of Trump’s arrival at the Fulton County Jail, an overcrowded prison being investigated by the Justice Department because of the high number of inmate deaths and deplorable living conditions.
Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who filed the conspiracy charges, set a 12 noon Friday deadline for the nineteen defendants to turn themselves in.
‘Arrested With Proud’
It’s not yet clear when Trump will arrive at the scene, but the former president said in a post on the Truth Social platform that he would be arriving Thursday afternoon.
“NOBODY HAS EVER FIGHTED FOR ELECTION INTEGRITY LIKE PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP,” he uploaded using capital letters. He added that he would be “ARCHED WITH PROUDLY.”
Some of his supporters gathered outside the prison compound, including Sharon Anderson who stayed in his car overnight. “I think this is a political manhunt and now it has turned into a political impeachment,” he told AFP.
Trump has previously avoided having to take mugshots of defendants in a hush-hush payment to a porn star in New York, an illegal storage of state secrets in Florida, and a conspiracy to undo his 2020 election loss in Washington. DC.
But Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said standard procedure in Georgia was for the defendant to be photographed before being released on bail in Trump’s case, the bail amount had been set at $200,000.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani, who served as Trump’s personal attorney while still president and passionately pushed forward the false claim that Trump had won the 2020 election, turned himself in Wednesday (23/8).
In addition to Trump and Giuliani, Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was also charged. So is John Eastman, the conservative lawyer accused of devising a scheme to submit Trump’s fake Georgia list of voters to Congress instead of the legitimate Biden electorate.
Trump is the first US president in history to face criminal charges. The four trials will take place during the Republican primary, which begins in January, and at the height of the 2024 US presidential election campaign.