Donald Trump made history again on Thursday, becoming the first former American president to get booked in jail and undergo the embarrassing process of having his mugshot taken—just like any other citizen charged with a crime.
At roughly 7:30 p.m., Trump was formally logged as the latest inmate at the Fulton County Jail northwest of downtown Atlanta. Deputies with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office registered him under booking number 2313827, logging his height at 6-foot-3, his weight at 215 pounds and his hair color as “blond or strawberry.”
According to county records, he was the 37th person booked at the jail since midnight—a group that included local residents accused of identity theft, domestic violence, and stalking.
Trump, meanwhile, faces 13 criminal counts, including racketeering and conspiracy charges, stemming from his effort to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.
Following the ordeal, the former president paused for a moment before boarding his plane at the airport to address the crowd of reporters, seething at the “travesty of justice” while falsely claiming that both Hillary Clinton and Stacey Abrams did many of the same things as he had.
“It’s a sad day for America,” Trump began. “This should never have happened. You should be able to challenge the election. What has taken place here is a travesty of justice—I did nothing wrong.”
“We did nothing wrong at all and we have every single right to challenge an election that we think is dishonest,” he repeated for good measure.
After a grand jury issued its indictments last week, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had given the former president and 18 of his associates until Friday at noon to turn themselves in. Trump, his final White House chief of staff, several of his lawyers and others were criminally charged with running a mob-like criminal enterprise that aimed to throw out the 2020 election and keep Trump in power after his resounding loss at the polls.
Previously, Trump was spared the jailhouse embarrassment—and given preferential treatment—when he appeared in New York state court, as well as federal courthouses in Miami and the District of Columbia, for his three other criminal cases earlier this year.
But in Atlanta, the local DA—a Black woman who campaigned on promises to reform an office long accused of public corruption—swore she’d treat the man who was once the most powerful on the planet just like any other citizen. And she followed through with that promise, forcing Trump to get arrested and ensuring that he would have to pay a fine for his freedom as he awaits trial.
Earlier in the afternoon, Trump left his home in Bedminster, New Jersey, and took his private jet south to Atlanta. Flanked in a motorcade from the airport, the former president arrived at the county jail complex, which is notorious for its abysmal conditions—so much so that the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the facility last month.
After surrendering, the former president is expected to be released within hours, given that he already reached an agreement with prosecutors that was approved by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case. On Monday, three of Trump’s lawyers signed an agreement with Willis saying that Trump would post a $200,000 bond.
Charles Shaw III, a local bail bondsman who has worked with Atlanta rappers like T.I. and Rick Ross, signed the paperwork allowing Trump to go free, according to one of his employees who spoke to The Daily Beast on Thursday evening.
They worked out a deal “several days ago,” this person said, and Trump paid his portion of the bail fee upfront. Shaw waited for the former president at the jail while Trump’s plane flew south. With associated transaction fees, Trump’s total bond came out to roughly $222,600.
That amount far surpassed the bond posted by other Trump associates who were similarly charged with racketeering and making false statements. Only former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who as Trump’s personal lawyer tried to overturn 2020 election results in several states, came close with a $150,000 bond. Giuliani was booked on Wednesday.
However, Trump’s bond agreement was more extensive than those of his associates. Others agreed to boilerplate language that listed restrictions against intimidating witnesses or contacting co-defendants in the runup to trial.
But Trump’s agreement specifically instructed him not to threaten the dozens of unindicted co-conspirators who remained unnamed in the original indictment—a clear move by Willis to prevent the politically powerful and wealthy real estate tycoon from abusing his might to silence witnesses.
Through his lawyers, Trump also agreed to “make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community.” Notably, the agreement includes “posts on social media” and “reposts of posts made by another individual on social media.” That clause is a clear attempt at reining in Trump’s increasingly violent rhetoric on his Truth Social online network, where he has been railing against prosecutors, attacking their families, insulting judges, and making veiled warnings about violent rightwing revolution.
Earlier this year, Trump warned there would be “potential death and destruction” if he were criminally charged in New York for faking business records. He continued attacks online in the hours before turning himself in, saying in one post that he was about to “get ARRESTED by a Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney.”
He railed against Willis in another post claiming that she “doesn’t have the Time, Money, or Interest to go after the real criminals, even the REALLY Violent ones, that are destroying Atlanta, and its once beautiful culture and way of life. This is yet another SAD DAY IN AMERICA!”
In response to harsh rhetoric from Trump and his supporters, municipal government agencies in the Atlanta region have been preparing for weeks and bolstering their defenses.
Government employees in various departments were warned to stay away from their offices in recent weeks, and Willis has even instructed her own junior prosecutors to work from home during a period of time. She also coordinated with partner law enforcement agencies in the run-up to her team’s decision to seek a grand jury indictment. On Thursday afternoon, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office began to close off access around the jail in anticipation of Trump’s evening surrender.
Nearly a dozen of Trump’s associates turned themselves in before their alleged boss, and all but one were immediately released after taking their booking photo.
The first to show up on Tuesday, rather appropriately, was the one defendant most familiar with the jail: local bail bondsman Scott Hall. He stands accused of taking part in a covert mission to illegally access voting machines in a faraway rural county—which was first detailed by The Daily Beast.
He was followed by John Eastman, a disgraced conservative legal scholar who has gained notoriety for authoring the infamous coup memo that attempted to justify Trump’s plan to interrupt congressional certification of the 2020 election results.
After that came David J. Shafer, former head of the Georgia GOP, who participated as one of Trump’s fake electors and schemed to supplant the state’s legitimate electors in an effort to flip results and give Trump a win in Georgia.
Of the many others that followed, the jail only detained one without the option for posting bond: Harrison Floyd, the leader of the organization Black Voices for Trump. In a tangentially related incident, Floyd allegedly attacked a federal agent when he was visited at his home and served with a subpoena demanding his testimony in a D.C. grand jury led by Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is also investigating Trump’s attempted coup.
The Fulton County Sheriff's Office confirmed Thursday night that seven defendants remain to be processed, telling 11Alive News in a statement: “It is expected that the remaining 7 defendants, named in the Georgia election interference indictment, will surrender by Friday, August 25, 2023. Added security will remain in place at the Fulton County Jail.”
Trump did make one surprising move that set him apart from the rest, swapping out his lead defense lawyer at the last minute.
On Thursday morning, the former president parted ways with Drew Findling, a well-known Atlanta defense lawyer who had been in communication with the DA’s office during its long-running investigation. Instead, Trump is now being represented by Steven H. Sadow, another local lawyer who made a name for himself representing notable R&B singers and rappers like T.I., Rick Ross, and Usher.