Former President Donald Trump surrendered to authorities in Georgia on Thursday, arranging a prime-time slot for the latest arraignment linked to his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Trump turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta a day before the deadline given by District Attorney Fani Willis. Her office indicted the former president and 18 co-defendants earlier this month over what prosecutors describe as a broad “criminal enterprise” meant to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results. Charges include racketeering and forgery, among others.
Trump used the hours before his arrest to insult Willis and announce what time he’d be going in.
“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,” Trump wrote in a post on the social media platform Truth Social. “THE EVIDENCE IS IRREFUTABLE! ARREST TIME: 7:30 P.M.”
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has installed security measures around the jail in recent days, warning of a “hard lockdown” surrounding Trump’s arrest.
Trump’s bond has been set at $200,000, and pretrial release terms prohibit him from intimidating his fellow defendants or witnesses in the case. A squad of those facing charges have presented themselves to authorities in recent days, including John Eastman, who allegedly played a central role in the effort to overturn the election, and bail bondsman Scott Hall.
The full list of co-defendants includes many of the former president’s lawyers, advisers and aides who allegedly worked to keep him in power: attorney Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, lawyer Sidney Powell and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark.
Clark and Meadows had attempted to have their arrests deferred as they filed motions to get their cases moved from state to federal court, but Willis refused this week.
“I am not granting any extensions,” Willis wrote in an email to Meadows’ attorney on Tuesday. “I gave 2 weeks for people to surrender themselves to the court. Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction.”
More than half of Trump’s co-defendants have already turned themselves in to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, ahead of Willis’ Friday deadline.
In a court request submitted Thursday, Willis asked for a trial start date of Oct. 23 for all the defendants, after Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro demanded a “speedy trial” on Wednesday.
The following day, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee set Chesebro’s trial to begin Oct. 23. However, that order does not apply to any other defendant.
In response to Chesebro’s speedy trial request and Willis’ proposed trial start date, Trump’s attorney moved to distance the former president from the other defendants.
In court documents, Trump’s legal team said they opposed the pretrial scheduling and announced their intention to “sever” his case from Chesebro and other defendants who demand speedy trials.