Donald Trump has turned himself in to the Fulton County jail in Georgia to face charges of trying to overturn the election in the state. While most people charged with serious crimes would probably prefer to do so with as little fanfare as possible, the ex-president—who used to masquerade as a PR exec, calling news outlets to brag about himself; spent 11 years as a reality TV show host; and conducted himself as POTUS in such a manner that phrases like “textbook narcissist” and “narcissistic personality disorder” were frequently tossed around—reportedly specifically timed the proceedings to make prime-time TV. As the Guardian reported on Tuesday, Trump “had his lawyers negotiate the booking to take place during the prime viewing hours for the cable news networks.”
Trump is now expected to be fingerprinted, have his height and weight recorded, and have his mug shot taken. While his three previous indictments did not involve photographs, Fulton County sheriff Patrick Labat said earlier this month that unless things change, Trump would be treated no differently from any other accused criminal. Fulton County district attorney Fani Willis charged Trump and 18 co-conspirators with, among other things, violating the state’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act. The indictment includes more than three dozen counts, 13 of which Trump was charged with.
Hours before he surrendered, Trump apparently canned his top lawyer. On Thursday morning, Atlanta-based attorney Steven Sadow filed paperwork as the “lead counsel of record” for Trump, replacing attorney Drew Findling, the hot shot celebrity lawyer whom the ex-president hired last year to defend him. In a statement first reported by CNN, Sadow said they “look forward to the case being dismissed or, if necessary, an unbiased, open-minded jury finding the president not guilty.”
Unlike the Manhattan hush money case, the federal documents case, and the federal election case, for which Trump was arraigned the same day he surrendered, a formal arraignment in Fulton County is not expected to take place until September. Willis has proposed the week of September 5 for the arraignment, and initially suggested a March 4 trial for all 19 defendants. But on Thursday, Willis asked Judge Scott McAfee to set an October 23 start of the trial after one of the defendants, Kenneth Chesebro, invoked his right to a speedy trial (the judge approved Chesebro's request for the earlier trial date). Trump's lawyer has said he will request that Trump's case be separated from Chesebro's and any other defendants that demand an early start date.
Trump and his 18 accused coconspirators have all insisted they did nothing wrong.
Throughout the week, various codefendants in the Georgia case, including Mark Meadows, John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and Sidney Powell have surrendered and had their mug shots taken and released.
Earlier this week, Trump’s bond was set at $200,000, and stipulated that the former president had to agree not to threaten witnesses, his codefendants, and unindicted coconspirators, including on social media. Shortly after the bond deal was struck, Trump took to Truth Social to joke (?) about fleeing to Russia.