In an unprecedented turn of events, former President Donald Trump made his fourth surrender to law enforcement authorities, this time in Atlanta, Georgia. Unlike his past surrenders, this one took place at night and did not involve a courthouse but rather a jail. Fulton County officials have also stated that they expect Trump to have his booking photo taken, just like any other defendant. This criminal case in Atlanta is part of a series of charges Trump has faced since March, including federal charges in Florida and Washington. Despite the serious nature of the charges, Trump has used these court appearances as campaign events, soliciting fundraising contributions and painting the charges as politically motivated attempts to harm his chances of getting reelected in 2024.
As Trump arrived in Atlanta, his supporters gathered outside the jail where he was to surrender, waving flags and showing their support. The main prosecutor, District Attorney Fani Willis, has given all the defendants until Friday afternoon to turn themselves in, and she proposed an October 23 trial date. However, the complexities of the 19-person case and potential scheduling conflicts with other Trump prosecutions make this timeline doubtful. Just before his surrender, Trump hired a new lead attorney for the Georgia case, Steve Sadow, who has represented another client, rapper Gunna, in a racketeering case. Sadow maintained Trump’s innocence and expressed hope for the case to be dismissed or for Trump to be found not guilty by an unbiased jury.
While the Fulton County jail has a troubled history, with the Justice Department recently opening a civil rights investigation into its conditions, Trump is not expected to spend much time there. His attorneys and prosecutors have already agreed to a $200,000 bond and other conditions, such as preventing Trump from intimidating co-defendants, witnesses, or victims. The booking process will involve the typical procedures of photographing, fingerprinting, and collecting personal information. Once completed, Trump will be released from custody since his bond has already been set. However, it is possible that Trump may have to make another trip to Georgia for his arraignment, as they generally occur after the booking process, unless it is waived or conducted virtually.