Trump arrives in Georgia to face 2020 election subversion charges

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Donald Trump arrived in Atlanta on Thursday evening to get his mug shot taken at a local jailhouse as part of a wide-ranging criminal case stemming from the former US president’s attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

Trump’s private airplane landed at 7:03 p.m. ET (2303 GMT) at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport where his motorcade was set to drive to the Fulton County Jail for his booking on multiple felony charges. Among his supporters outside the jailhouse was Georgia US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of his most prominent backers in Congress.

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Judge Scott McAfee set a trial date of Oct. 23 for one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants, attorney Kenneth Chesebro, after Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis proposed that date in response to Chesebro’s request for a speedy trial. The judge’s order said the schedule does not yet apply to Trump or any of the other defendants.

Trump, 77, already has entered uncharted territory as the first former US president to face criminal charges, though the four cases filed against him have not damaged his front-runner status in the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.

The businessman- and celebrity reality star-turned-politician will join the ranks of gangster Al Capone, crooner Frank Sinatra and other high-profile Americans who have posed for jailhouse photographs.

The image is certain to be circulated widely by Trump’s foes and supporters alike.

“We want to put it on a T-shirt. It will go worldwide. It will be a more popular image than the Mona Lisa,” said Laura Loomer, 30, a Republican former congressional candidate who mingled with other Trump supporters outside the jail on Thursday morning.

One of the most recognizable people in the world, Trump has not had to submit to a photo in the other three cases. But fake mug shots have circulated online since shortly after he was first indicted in Manhattan in March on charges involving hush money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election he won.

At least 10 of his co-defendants already have been booked. Some, like Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor, were stone-faced in their mug shots, while others, such as lawyer Jenna Ellis, smiled for the camera.

All 19 defendants face a Friday deadline to surrender. Court records showed that Mark Meadows, who served as Trump’s White House chief of staff, was processed at the jail on Thursday.

Trump faces 13 felony counts in the Georgia case, including racketeering, which is typically used to target organized crime, for pressuring state officials to reverse his election loss and setting up an illegitimate slate of electors to undermine the formal congressional certification of Biden’s 2020 victory.

TRIAL DATE WRANGLING

Willis originally proposed a trial date of March 4 but moved it up for Chesebro after he asked that his trial start by October. Trump’s legal team has not yet proposed a date but is expected to push for a much later start. On Thursday, his newest Atlanta lawyer, Steven Sadow, asked for Trump to be tried separately from Chesebro.

Trump is due to enter a plea on Sept. 5 after pleading not guilty in the three other cases. He has denied wrongdoing and has called all the cases politically motivated.

In addition to New York state charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump faces two sets of federal charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith - one case in Washington involving election interference and one in Miami involving classified documents he retained after leaving office in 2021. He faces 91 criminal counts in total.

Trump has agreed to post $200,000 bond and accepted bail conditions that would bar him from threatening witnesses or his co-defendants in the Georgia case.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered that the airspace over the jail be closed beginning around 6:45 p.m. ET (2245 GMT). The jail has a reputation for grim conditions that have inspired rap songs and prompted an investigation by the US Justice Department.

Republicans who control the US House of Representatives said on Thursday they would investigate whether Willis improperly coordinated with federal prosecutors. They previously launched an investigation of Bragg, who accused them of a “campaign of intimidation.”

About a dozen Trump supporters, some holding flags, gathered outside the jail awaiting his arrival.

“I’m here because I’m appalled at what’s happening,” said Bob Kunst, 81, a retiree who said he had driven from Miami Beach and stood outside the jailhouse with a homemade sign that read “Lock Biden Up.”

On Wednesday, Trump’s leading rivals in the race for the Republican presidential nomination met in Milwaukee for their first debate. Trump skipped that event, instead sitting for a pre-taped interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson aimed at siphoning away viewers.

“I’ve been indicted four times - all trivial nonsense,” Trump told Carlson.

Read more:

Trump plans to turn himself in on Thursday over Georgia election case

Trump’s allies face criminal charges in alleged election scheme

Former Trump aide Mark Meadows surrenders in Georgia 2020 election subversion case

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