Former President Donald J. Trump (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office)

 

Former President Donald Trump turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail Thursday night to face charges that he and 18 co-defendants participated in a criminal conspiracy to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election.

Trump – now the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination – and the others were indicted last week by a Fulton grand jury on charges including violating Georgia’s RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) law, submitting false documents and false statements, forgery, conspiracy to commit election fraud, and perjury. The RICO charge carries a mandatory minimum prison term of five years.

The former president traveled in a motorcade from his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., to Newark Liberty International Airport, then flew to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for the trip via a second motorcade and motorcycle escort to the Fulton County Jail in northwest Atlanta.

The motorcade pulled into the jail’s sally port shortly after 7:30 p.m. Once there, Trump was fingerprinted and a mug shot was taken. The motorcade left the jail at 7:55 p.m.

The other defendants in the case – including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff – have been turning themselves in for booking all week to comply with a Friday deadline set by Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis.

The 97-page Georgia indictment is much broader than three other indictments handed down against Trump in recent months, both in the number of defendants and the scope of incidents it cites.

Trump is accused of asking Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger during a phone call at the beginning of January 2021 to “find” 11,780 votes, the margin Trump needed to overcome Democrat Joe Biden’s winning margin in Georgia in the November 2020 election.

The indictment also cited a meeting of “fake” Republican electors held inside the Georgia Capitol in December 2020 to certify Trump as the winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes rather than Biden. Other charges relate to presentations Giuliani made to state lawmakers – also in December 2020 – leveling false allegations of election fraud, a data breach at the elections office in Coffee County, and alleged harassment and intimidation of two Fulton elections workers.

Trump is due to return to Atlanta Sept. 5 to be arraigned on the charges.

A trial date remains uncertain, with lawyers on both sides filing motions requesting dates ranging from this October to April 2026.

Dave Williams writes for Capitol Beat News Service

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