Trump legal brief: Trump turns himself in for arrest in Atlanta

“Trump legal brief” provides succinct daily updates on the criminal cases against the 45th president of the United States.

Donald Trump
Donald Trump turned himself in for arrest in Atlanta on Thursday. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: Drew Angerer/Getty Images, Getty Images (4))

Georgia election interference

Arrest and booking

Key players: Former President Donald Trump, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat

  • Donald Trump turned himself in Thursday evening for arrest and processing at Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail after being indicted along with 18 others for attempting to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.

  • After being booked, Trump made a statement to the press gathered at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. “I really believe this is a sad day for America. This should never happen,” Trump said. “If you challenge an election, you should be able to challenge an election. I thought the election was a rigged election, a stolen election, and I should have every right to do that.”

  • Unlike in the three other criminal cases in which Trump has been indicted, arrested and arraigned, the former president was obliged to pose for a mug shot at the jail, as have all of those charged with crimes stemming from the election plot. His bond had been set at $200,000, and he used Foster Bail Bonds LLC to pay it, according to reports.

  • “Unless somebody tells me differently, we are following our normal practices, and so it doesn’t matter your status, we’ll have a mug shot ready for you,” Labat told reporters earlier this month, the Associated Press reported.

  • Trump stands charged with 13 felony counts in Fulton County, including violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Why it matters: The Georgia case brings the number of felony counts Trump will face in a courtroom to 91. Unlike many of the federal charges, a guilty verdict of violating Georgia’s RICO Act could make him ineligible for pardon and require him to serve time in jail.

Willis requests October start for Georgia trial

Key players: Fani Willis, Judge Scott McAfee, attorney Kenneth Chesebro

  • In a court filing Thursday, Willis laid out an ambitious request for the start of the case against Trump and 18 of his associates: Oct. 23, Reuters reported.

  • While that date is largely seen as unrealistic for all of the defendants given the sprawling size of the Georgia case, McAfee agreed Thursday that Chesebro’s trial could begin then, The Hill reported.

  • Lawyers for Chesebro, one of the alleged architects of the fake elector scheme, demanded speedy proceedings in a Wednesday filing. Willis cited that request in her own court filing on Thursday.

Why it matters: The strategy for Trump’s legal team in the other criminal cases in which the former president has been indicted has been to delay the legal proceedings until after the 2024 election. A Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Thursday showed Trump’s GOP support would fall by 17 points if he were to be convicted of a serious crime in the coming months.

Trump shakes up legal team

Key players: Attorney Steven Sadow, attorney Drew Findling

As he prepared to turn himself in for booking in Fulton County on Thursday, Trump overhauled his legal representation in the Georgia case, replacing Findling with Atlanta attorney Sadow, CNN reported.

  • Sadow is perhaps best known for having defended notable musicians like Usher, Gucci Mane and Cardi B.

  • “The president should never have been indicted. He is innocent of all the charges brought against him,” Sadow said in a statement.

Why it matters: Sadow has experience defending clients charged with violations of Georgia’s RICO law, as when he represented rapper Gunna in 2022.

Read more:

The Independent: Lawyer for Christian pastor indicted in Trump’s Georgia case complains that bond is ‘excessive’

Daily Beast: Ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows surrenders to jail in Georgia

Salon: Jim Jordan launches probe into Fani Willis while ‘nobody is paying attention’