Trump to be arrested in Georgia election racketeering case

Trump to be arrested in Georgia election racketeering case
Trump to arrive at Atlanta's Fulton County Jail to face charges over attempts to overturn the 2020 election result in Georgia.
4 min read
Supporters of former President Donald Trump gather outside of the Fulton County Jail ahead of Trump's surrender on August 24, 2023. (Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Former US president Donald Trump heads to Georgia on Thursday to face racketeering and conspiracy charges and likely be subjected to a historic mugshot.

The 77-year-old Trump will be arrested at Atlanta's Fulton County Jail, accused of colluding with 18 co-defendants to try to overturn the 2020 election result in the key southern state.

The billionaire's indictment is his fourth since April and sets the stage for a year of unprecedented courtroom drama as he tries to balance appearing in the dock with running another White House campaign.

In a post on his Truth Social platform, Trump said he would be arrested at 7:30 pm (2330 GMT) for "having the audacity to challenge a RIGGED & STOLLEN (sic) ELECTION."

Trump was able to dodge having a mugshot taken during his previous arrests this year: in New York on charges of paying hush money to a porn star, in Florida for mishandling top secret government documents, and in Washington on charges of conspiring to upend his 2020 election loss.

But Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said standard procedure in Georgia is to take a defendant's photograph before they are released on bond -- already set at $200,000 in Trump's case.

The arrest will come one day after Trump spurned a televised debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, featuring eight of his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination -- all of whom lag well behind him in the polls.

He still stole the spotlight though, with all but two of the candidates saying they would support him as the party's nominee even if he were a convicted felon.

During a pre-recorded interview with former Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson -- which aired on social media at the same time as the debate -- Trump dismissed the four criminal indictments filed against him as "nonsense."

He said the Justice Department had been "weaponized" under Democratic President Joe Biden to hamstring his White House bid.

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A tight security perimeter has been set up ahead of Trump's arrival at Fulton County Jail, which is under investigation for a slew of inmate deaths and deplorable conditions.

Fani Willis, the district attorney who filed the sweeping racketeering case, set a deadline of noon (1600 GMT) on Friday for the 19 defendants to surrender.

Eleven have turned themselves in so far including Trump's former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who surrendered on Thursday and was released on $100,000 bond.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump's personal lawyer when he was in the White House and vigorously pushed the false claims that Trump had won the 2020 election, was booked in the case on Wednesday.

John Eastman, a conservative lawyer who is accused of drawing up a scheme to submit a false slate of Trump electors to Congress from Georgia instead of the legitimate Biden ones, has also been booked and released.

Several supporters of the ex-president gathered outside the jail on Thursday, including Sharon Anderson who spent the night in her car.

"I think this is a political persecution and now that's turned into a political prosecution," Anderson told AFP.

Trump is the first US president in history to face criminal charges.

His unprecedented trials may coincide with the Republican presidential primary season, which begins in January, and the campaign for the November 2024 White House election.

Special counsel Jack Smith has proposed a January 2024 start date for Trump's trial on charges of conspiring to overturn the last election, a campaign of lies that culminated in the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters.

Trump's attorneys have countered with suggested start date well after the election.

Georgia prosecutors want the racketeering case to begin in March next year, the same month Trump is scheduled to go on trial in New York on charges of paying hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels.

The Florida case, in which Trump is accused of taking secret government documents as he left the White House and refusing to return them, is scheduled to begin in May.