ATLANTA (AP) — Former President Donald Trump arrived Thursday at a jail in Atlanta to surrender on charges that he illegally schemed to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, a county jail booking expected to yield a historic first: a mug shot of a former American president.
Trump’s surrender to law enforcement authorities has become by now a familiar election-season routine in a way that belies the unprecedented spectacle of a former president being booked, in four different cities, on felony criminal charges.
But his visit to Atlanta is notably different than the three past surrenders, unfolding at night rather than requiring him to visit a problem-plagued jail — rather than a courthouse — and unfolding not in a liberal bastion like New York or Washington but rather in the heart of a battleground state vital to the 2024 presidential election. And unlike in other cities that did not require him to pose for a mug shot, Fulton County officials have said they expect to take a booking photo as they would any other defendant.
Trump landed in Atlanta shortly after 7 p.m. and was to be driven, through the city’s rush-hour traffic, to jail for the booking process. Wearing his signature white shirt and red tie, he offered a wave and thumbs up as he descended the steps of his private plane.
The Fulton County prosecution is the fourth criminal case against Trump since March, when he became the first former president in U.S. history to be indicted. Since then, he’s faced federal charges in Florida and Washington, and this month he was indicted in Atlanta with 18 others — including his ex-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani — under a racketeering statute normally associated with gang members and organized crime.
Giuliani surrendered on Wednesday and posed for a mug shot. Meadows, who had sought to avoid having to turn himself in while he seeks to move the case to federal court, turned himself in Thursday. Bond was set at $100,000.
The criminal cases have spurred a succession of bookings and arraignments, with Trump making brief court appearances before returning to the 2024 campaign trail. He’s turned the appearances into campaign events amid a far lighter schedule than his rivals, with staff delighting in wall-to-wall media coverage that has included news helicopters tracking his every move.
The campaign has also used the appearances to solicit fundraising contributions from his supporters as aides paint the charges as part of a politically motivated effort to damage his reelection chances. As Trump was en route from New Jersey to Atlanta, his campaign sent a message saying, “I’m writing to you from Trump Force One, on my way to Atlanta where I will be ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME.”