What comes next for Donald Trump after his Georgia arrest and mugshot?

Legal complexities continue to mount for the former president as he seeks a return to the White House

Where is Donald Trump facing criminal charges?

Where is Donald Trump facing criminal charges?
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Former US president Donald Trump once again finds himself in legal peril after he was arrested at Fulton County jail on charges that he attempted to overturn his 2020 electoral loss to Joe Biden in the state of Georgia.

Mr Trump's surrender came amid that of his 18 co-defendants, including former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, who turned himself on on Friday.

Now the first former president with an inmate number – P01135809 – Mr Trump must again contend with the complexities of an indictment and the 2024 presidential election. In addition to Georgia, he faces three federal indictments in New York, Florida and Washington.

Unlike those three cases, however, Mr Trump has not yet been arraigned in Georgia.


The next step in Mr Trump's legal process will be the arraignment, where he will make his first court appearance and plead either guilty or not guilty.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has requested the court to hold Mr Trump's arraignment the week of September 5.

It is around this time frame that Mr Trump's 18 co-defendants in the case will also have their first court appearances.

All defendants in the case have the option to waive their right to appear at their arraignments, and it is possible Mr Trump may exercise that right. Should he attend the first hearing in person, it could be the first time one of his arraignments is televised.

Former US president Donald Trump's booking photo after he surrendered to charges in Georgia. Reuters

Pretrial motions and subsequent hearings

Following the arraignment, defence teams will have 10 days to make pretrial motions or requests for the court to rule on.

Such a request could be moving the trial from state court to federal court.

One co-defendant who has already made is Mr Clark, who drafted a letter that would have urged Georgia to appoint new electors to declare Mr Trump the state's winner. The plan to deliver the letter was ultimately abandoned.

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also filed a motion to “remove” the case to federal court. A hearing is scheduled for August 28.

Unlike the other co-defendants, Mr Trump, Mr Clark and Mr Meadows were all federal officials at the time the alleged crimes occurred.

Even if Mr Trump does not make a similar request, his legal team can request other motions that would complicate prosecutors' preferred trial timeline or suppress certain pieces of evidence.

Jury selection and trial

The judge presiding over the case will set a date for the trial once the pretrial hearings conclude. Ms Willis has proposed an October 23 start date. Mr Trump's team has filed a motion to oppose that date.

Once the trial date is set, the jury selection process begins. It is unclear how long that will take, but once finished, the trial will begin.

If found guilty, a separate date would be scheduled for Mr Trump and/or any of his co-defendants' sentencing.

2024 presidential election

Mr Trump is the front-runner for the Republican Party's presidential nomination and could challenge President Joe Biden in 2024.

The election season timeline complicates legal proceedings for Mr Trump and Fulton County prosecutors. Mr Trump faces a calendar stuffed with primaries, caucuses, planned debates, pretrial hearings and trial start dates.

Should Mr Trump's trial go ahead as planned on October 23, it would arrive less than a month after the second Republican debate held in California on September 27. Mr Trump has already said he will skip the debate.

And even if he is convicted, it would not rule out his eligibility for president. There are no legal obstacles that would prevent someone from running for president if they are serving a jail sentence, although such a prospect is still a long way away.

Updated: August 26, 2023, 4:23 AM