Donald Trump departed from his New Jersey estate on Thursday for a significant visit to an Atlanta jail, where he was to have his photograph taken as part of a broad criminal case linked to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
Leaving his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Trump’s motorcade embarked on the hours-long journey to the Fulton County Jail, where a group of supporters eagerly anticipated his arrival. His surrender was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern time (2330 GMT), as he had announced on social media.
In the midst of this, Judge Scott McAfee set a trial date of October 23 for attorney Kenneth Chesebro, one of the defendants. This date, proposed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, may not apply to Trump or the other 17 defendants.
Trump, aged 77, has already ventured into unprecedented territory as the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges. However, these four cases filed against him haven’t deterred his pursuit of the Republican nomination for the upcoming election, where he remains the front-runner to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden.
From being a businessman and reality TV personality, Trump is now set to join the ranks of well-known Americans like Al Capone and Frank Sinatra who have posed for jailhouse photos. This image is sure to be widely circulated by both his supporters and opponents.
Laura Loomer, a former congressional candidate and Trump supporter, expressed her intent to use the image on a T-shirt, believing it would become highly popular.
While Trump is one of the world’s most recognizable figures, he hasn’t had to submit to a photo in the other three cases. However, fake mug shots of him have circulated online since his initial indictment in Manhattan in March, relating to hush money paid to a porn star before the 2016 election.
Some of his co-defendants, like Rudolph Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, have already had their mug shots taken.
All 19 defendants were required to surrender by Friday. Records show that Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, was booked on Thursday.
In a social media post, Trump criticized District Attorney Fani Willis, describing her as a “Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney,” and expressed his intent to surrender.
In the Georgia case, Trump faces 13 felony counts, including racketeering, for pressuring state officials to reverse his election loss and establishing an illegitimate slate of electors to challenge Biden’s victory in Congress.
The trial date has been a point of contention, with Willis initially proposing March 4, then moving it up, and Trump’s legal team likely seeking a much later start date. Trump is expected to enter a plea on September 5 and has pleaded not guilty in the other three cases.
Apart from the New York state charges, Trump also faces federal charges in Washington and Miami, amounting to a total of 91 criminal counts. He has agreed to post $200,000 bond and accepted bail conditions.
The airspace over the jail was closed by the Federal Aviation Administration, citing “VIP movement,” highlighting the notoriety of the jail’s conditions, which have prompted investigations by the U.S. Justice Department.
Republicans in control of the U.S. House of Representatives announced an investigation into whether Willis improperly coordinated with federal prosecutors, echoing a previous investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who accused them of intimidation.
Outside the jail, a group of Trump supporters gathered, expressing their disapproval of the situation. Among them was Bob Kunst, who drove from Miami Beach with a sign that read “Lock Biden Up.”
Trump’s visit to the jail coincided with a Republican presidential nomination debate in Milwaukee, which he skipped in favor of a pre-taped interview with Tucker Carlson on X (formerly Twitter), where he downplayed the charges against him.