Donald Trump booked at Fulton County jail over Georgia election charges

Former president had police booking mugshot taken in another first in US history

Donald Trump booked at Fulton County jail

Donald Trump booked at Fulton County jail
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Donald Trump surrendered to Georgia authorities on Thursday – his fourth arrest this year – over charges that he plotted to overturn the state's 2020 election results.

"What has taken place here is a travesty of justice," he told reporters at the airport after being released. "I did nothing wrong and everybody knows it."

Live cable news TV footage showed intensified security outside the Fulton County jail, with barricades blocking off a small crowd of Trump supporters.

Mr Trump was in the jail for about 20 minutes before his release. He then left to board his private plane for his home in New Jersey.

A police booking photo was released. Mr Trump was the first US president to have a mugshot taken.

Mr Trump posted the historic photograph with text reading "election interference" and "never surrender!" in all capital letters on his Truth Social platform.

His arrest at Fulton County Jail comes a day after the first Republican debate of the 2024 presidential election, which Mr Trump skipped in favour of an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

Mr Trump maintains a commanding lead over his Republican rivals.

“I've been indicted four times – all trivial nonsense,” he said in the interview.

Donald Trump denies charges after being booked in Georgia jail

Donald Trump denies charges after being booked in Georgia jail

He will again be the centre of attention in the Republicans' crowded field by attending his booking process, siphoning off much-needed media attention from candidates looking to gain ground on him.

And even though Mr Trump skipped Wednesday night's debate, his presence still loomed large over the room.

He was the second-most debated topic on the stage, according to debate trackers, and most candidates said they would support him as the nominee even if he were convicted of a crime.

“Someone's got to stop normalising this conduct,” Republican candidate Chris Christie said to a booing audience in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, during the primary debate.

"Whether or not you believe that the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of President of the United States."

Mr Trump and 18 co-defendants were charged by Ms Willis this month under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisation Act, which is used to take aim at criminal organisations.

His former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, surrendered in Atlanta on a $100,000 bond after an attempt to try to delay his arrest, which was denied by a federal judge on Wednesday. He is also trying to move his court case to federal court.

Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and other co-defendants have already surrendered to authorities and had their mugshots taken.

Unlike in his three federal criminal cases, Mr Trump's booking process did not include an arraignment.

Mr Trump has already agreed to a $200,000 release bond and not to post threatening messages on social media as he awaits trial.

Also expected to be unique is the arraignment itself, which is set to take place in the coming weeks.

While no media presence was allowed in federal courtrooms, Georgia's courts usually allow photographs and videos of the proceedings.

A judge this week signed an order permitting local media to attend court proceedings until September 8, adding to the probability that Mr Trump's arraignment will be televised.

Ms Willis on Thursday proposed an October 23 date for the trial – although getting all 19 defendants together in a courtroom may prove to be a challenge.

In addition, the trial date request for the near term may be in response to co-defendant Kenneth Chesebro's request for a speedy trial, but not everyone may agree to a such process.

Mr Trump's legal team filed a motion opposing the October 23 date, CNN reported.

The former president has denied any wrongdoing and maintains he held a “perfect phone call” with Georgia's senior election official in 2021.

An audio recording of the call revealed, however, that he asked the official to "find" him enough votes that would overturn Joe Biden's state victory.

The former president also claims, without evidence, that the investigation and other inquiries into his actions are examples of political persecution.

Mr Trump's other criminal cases involve his allegations of efforts to overturn the election, mishandling of classified documents since leaving office and hush money paid to an adult film star during the 2016 election campaign.

Updated: August 25, 2023, 1:48 PM