In a stunning turn of events, former U.S. President Donald Trump was apprehended at a Georgia detention facility on Thursday, facing charges of racketeering and conspiracy. He was subsequently released on a $200,000 bond after undergoing the unique process of having his official mug shot taken.
These charges revolve around allegations of collusion with 18 other individuals in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in the southern state of Georgia. Trump’s stay at Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail lasted less than half an hour before he departed in a motorcade bound for the airport.
Remarkably, the 77-year-old Trump became the first serving or former U.S. president to have his mug shot captured during the booking procedure. In the image released by the sheriff’s office, he appeared stern, clad in a dark blue suit, white shirt, and red tie.
Addressing the media following his arrest, Trump, who is currently the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, expressed his deep disappointment, calling it a “very sad day for America.” He vehemently asserted his innocence, stating, “I did nothing wrong.”
Trump took to his own Truth Social platform to post his mug shot, captioning it “Election Interference” and providing a link to his campaign website. Shortly thereafter, he also shared it on X, formerly known as Twitter, which had been his primary means of communication until he was banned from the platform following the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Elon Musk, the new owner of X, reinstated Trump on the platform in November of the previous year, but Trump had predominantly opted for Truth Social instead. This marked Trump’s first post on the platform since 2021, when he was actively using Twitter.
During his time at Fulton County Jail, Trump was assigned the inmate number “PO1135809,” with his physical description noting a height of six feet three inches (1.9 meters), a weight of 215 pounds (97 kilograms), and hair color listed as “Blond or Strawberry.”
This arrest marked the fourth criminal indictment for the billionaire since April, setting the stage for a year of unprecedented legal battles as he navigates multiple court appearances while simultaneously pursuing another White House campaign.
In contrast to his previous arrests this year, Donald Trump was unable to avoid having a mugshot taken during his recent apprehension. His previous encounters with the law occurred in New York, where he faced charges related to hush money payments to a porn star, in Florida for mishandling top-secret government documents, and in Washington for his alleged involvement in conspiring to overturn his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden.
Interestingly, Trump’s arrest followed his decision to decline participation in a televised debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which featured eight of his rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Despite trailing significantly in the polls, most of these candidates expressed their willingness to support him as the party’s nominee even if he were to be convicted as a felon.
Trump’s booking at the Fulton County Jail was accompanied by heightened security measures. This facility had recently come under scrutiny due to a series of inmate deaths and poor living conditions.
Fani Willis, the Fulton County district attorney who brought forth the extensive racketeering case, had set a noon deadline for Trump and the other 18 defendants to surrender. Trump and 11 others complied with this demand so far.
Notable figures, such as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who was Trump’s personal lawyer during his presidency and a staunch proponent of false election claims, have also been booked and released.
Among the accused is John Eastman, a conservative lawyer alleged to have devised a scheme involving the submission of a false slate of Trump electors to Congress from Georgia, instead of the legitimate Biden electors.
Outside the jail, a small group of former President Trump’s supporters gathered, including Sharon Anderson, who spent the night in her car. Anderson believed that Trump’s situation was driven by political persecution and had now turned into a political prosecution.
Donald Trump has the distinction of being the first U.S. president in history to face criminal charges. The timing of his various trials, if they occur next year, may coincide with the Republican presidential primary season, which begins in January, as well as the campaign for the November 2024 White House election.
Special counsel Jack Smith has suggested a trial start date of January 2024 for Trump on charges of conspiring to overturn the previous election through a campaign fueled by false claims. This campaign reached its climax with the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters. Trump’s legal team, however, has proposed a start date well after the election, specifically in April 2026.
Fani Willis, the Georgia district attorney, initially proposed that the racketeering case begin in March of the next year, the same month Trump is scheduled to go on trial in New York on charges related to hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. On Thursday, in response to a request for a speedy trial from one of the defendants, she suggested that the case begin for all 19 defendants in October of this year, a proposal met with immediate objection from Trump’s lawyers. The Florida case, in which Trump is accused of taking secret government documents upon leaving the White House and refusing to return them, is scheduled to commence in May.