Former President Donald Trump surrendered himself to authorities at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 24 at roughly 7:36 p.m. local time. He was released on a $200,000 bond about 20 minutes after going through the booking process, including fingerprinting and having his picture taken for a mug shot—the first ever taken of a U.S. president.
His private jet landed at the Atlanta International Airport at 7:03 p.m., after which a 13-vehicle motorcade brought him to the notoriously dangerous jailhouse through a highway cleared off all traffic by the police.
President Trump had until noon on Aug. 25 to have himself booked to avoid arrest after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged him and 18 associates with dozens of crimes, including a racketeering conspiracy based on his efforts to challenge the official results of the 2020 election.
The Aug. 14 indictment alleges that a strategy devised by several lawyers advising President Trump to arrange alternative slates of electors in several states and thus delay the counting of the electoral votes amounted to a criminal enterprise.
After exiting the jail facility, President Trump was brought straight to the airport again, where he briefly addressed the media.
“What has taken place here is a travesty of justice, we did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong. And everybody knows it. I’ve never had such support. And that goes with the other ones too,” he said, referring to the three other indictments he's facing.
He then criticized the prosecutions as a tactic of his political opponents to thwart his 2024 run for office.
“What they’re doing is election interference. They're trying to interfere with an election," he said. "There’s never been anything like it in our country before. This is their way of campaigning.”
Most of the case's defendants already surrendered themselves, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was also a former lawyer for President Trump; Mark Meadows, former congressman and chief-of-staff to President Trump; attorneys John Eastman, Kenneth Chesebro, Sidney Powell, and Ray Smith III; alternate electors Cathleen Latham and David Shafer; and Georgia bail bondsman Scott Hall.
All have been released on bond, except for Harrison Floyd, former head of Black Voices for Trump. Jail records indicate that he didn’t post bond and thus remains in custody.
He called the prosecution a “great American tragedy and injustice” that will be repeated if not treated as such.
“Over a period of time, we have allowed the Biden regime and the scoundrels who control that party to destroy our American justice system,” Mr. Giuliani said.
“It is a complete contradiction and misleading people to say we have justice in America. We do not.”
House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) launched an investigation into the prosecution on Aug. 24, requesting documents from Ms. Willis, including any communications about the case with the Biden administration.
Georgia's Republican state Sen. Colton Moore has called for a special session of the state Senate to investigate Ms. Willis's actions as well.
"The 200,000 people that I represent, who sweat hard every day for their tax dollars, they don't want their tax dollars funding this corrupt District Attorney Fani Willis," he said in an Aug. 24 video posted on X.
Federal RemovalMs. Willis first proposed a trial date of March 4, a breakneck schedule for a case of this size, according to some lawyers. The date falls about a week before the Georgia GOP primary and just one day before the “Super Tuesday” slew of primaries in 16 states.
Defendant Jeffrey Clark, a former Department of Justice official in the Trump administration, opposed the trial date in a court filing.
Mr. Chesebro, on the other hand, filed a request for a speedy trial, after which Ms. Willis proposed moving the trial date to Oct. 23.
It isn't clear how the expedited timeline could materialize, however, given the legal complexities of the case.
"Mr. Chesebro will be prepared to move forward with trial for whatever date the Court ultimately sets," his attorney, Scott Grubman, previously told The Epoch Times.
Mr. Meadows, Mr. Clark, Mr. Giuliani, and Mr. Shafer, who's also former Georgia Republican Party chair, have asked to have the case removed to federal court on the grounds that they acted “under color” of federal office and as such shouldn’t be tried by a state court. If at least one of the requests succeeds, the entire case would move to a federal court.
Mr. Meadows's request is scheduled for an Aug. 25 hearing before District Judge Steve Jones. The federal judge denied on Aug. 24 Mr. Meadows's motion to have the removal granted even before the hearing.
Crowd OutsideHundreds of people, mostly the media and supporters of President Trump, began gathering on the morning of Aug. 24 in anticipation of his arrival at the jail, which was fenced off by police barricades.
"Please excuse me, I have to start getting ready to head down to Atlanta, Georgia, where Murder and other Violent Crimes have reached levels never seen before, to get ARRESTED by a Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney, Fani Willis, for a PERFECT PHONE CALL, and having the audacity to challenge a RIGGED & STOLEN ELECTION," he said, referring to a part of the indictment that assigns criminality to his Jan. 2, 2021, phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
The content of the call was selectively leaked to media outlets to create the narrative that President Trump asked Mr. Raffensperger to “find” him enough votes to overturn the election.
When the transcript of the call was released, it turned out that President Trump claimed that hundreds of thousands of ballots were cast illegally in the state, particularly in Fulton County, and exhorted Mr. Raffensperger to investigate the fraud allegations.
“Why wouldn’t you want to find the right answer?” he asked.
Several times during the conversation, President Trump noted that he only needed to identify about 11,000 illegal votes because that was the margin by which he lost the state.
“If you check with Fulton County, you’ll have hundreds of thousands because they dumped ballots into Fulton County and the other county next to it,” he said.
Other ChargesMuch of the same conduct targeted by Ms. Willis is also subject to federal charges filed against President Trump by special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, with the trial date as early as January.
President Trump is also facing a March 2024 trial date for state charges brought against him in New York for allegedly false bookkeeping entries and another trial set for May for a federal case litigated in Florida by Mr. Smith that involves the 45th president’s retention of national defense documents from his time in office.
President Trump has denounced all the charges as politically motivated and meant to interfere with his 2024 run for reelection.
He has repeatedly pointed out that his poll numbers have been improving despite the piling indictments.
The interview, running concurrently with the first GOP presidential debate, which President Trump skipped, garnered more than 230 million views on X.