Live updates: Donald Trump set to be arrested in Georgia election interference case

  • Trump is scheduled to surrender for booking at Fulton County jail and be released on $200,000 bond, for which he must post 10%.
  • Trump faces 13 charges, including racketeering, soliciting state officials to violate their oaths of office, making false statements and conspiring to recruit alternate presidential electors.

ATLANTA − Donald Trump was arrested Thursday evening at Georgia’s Fulton County Jail on charges he tried to steal the 2020 election, the fourth criminal case he faces while campaigning for president next year.

Trump is one of 19 defendants in the indictment that alleges racketeering by a criminal organization that tried to overturn the election results. Local authorities said Trump would be treated like any other defendant.

But the processing – with authorities collecting fingerprints and a photograph – contrasts to his three other cases, in New YorkFlorida and Washington, D.C., where he was processed at a courthouse during the same trip when he entered a formal plea to charges. His photograph wasn’t required at previous bookings because he is well known.

Trump spent about 20 minutes at the jail before heading back to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for his flight back to Bedminster, New Jersey.

Trump’s Georgia arraignment is expected the week of Sept. 5.

Did they arrest Trump?

Yes, Donald Trump was arrested at the Fulton County Jail after he arrived at the facility at approximately 7:30 p.m.

All defendants are technically arrested in such cases, even if they voluntarily surrender, in a process known as booking.

The former president was also arrested earlier this month on federal charges that he tried to steal the 2020 election. Trump pleaded not guilty to the sweeping allegations.

− Josh Meyer, Marina Pitofsky

President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up as he departs after surrendering to Atlanta authorities at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Aug. 24, 2023. A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia indicted former president Donald Trump and 18 other defendants with 41 charges related to tampering with the 2020 election.

Trump departs Fulton County Jail, heads to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Donald Trump was processed at the Fulton County jail, where authorities collected his fingerprints and a photograph. He was moved through the process much faster than some of his co-defendants, only spending about 20 minutes at the jail.

Trump was set to immediately fly back to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey

− Bart Jansen, Marina Pitofsky

Trump’s supporters and critics flock to Fulton County jail

Americans who love and loathe Donald Trump waited for hours outside the Fulton County jail before his surrender Thursday.

Supporters appeared to slightly outnumber detractors, but all carried signs or wore creative outfits applauding or mocking the former president.

Many argued with each other about the 91 criminal counts the president faces in the blaring Georgia heat, but largely without incident as sheriff’s deputies de-escalated many of the tense shouting matches.

Meanwhile, high-profile officials from Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene to former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms spoke.

− Phillip M. Bailey

Why was Trump arrested?

Donald Trump has been charged twice this year over allegations he tried to steal the 2020 election from President Joe Biden − once at the federal level, and once in Georgia.

A federal grand jury indicted Trump earlier this month for over a slate of election allegations, including actions that led to the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021. Last week, a grand jury in Georgia indicted Trump and 18 of his allies for actions they specifically took in the state.

− USA TODAY Staff

Trump attorney Steven Sadow represented rapper Gunna in RICO case

Donald Trump’s attorney, Steven Sadow, has previously represented rapper Gunna in a separate Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, Act case, CNN reported.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis charged Donald Trump under the state’s RICO Act, a law that is historically used to take down drug operations and gangs.

It allows a prosecutor to combine multiple suspected crimes into one charge: racketeering.

− Marina Pitofsky, Joey Garrison and Phillip M. Bailey

Trump 757, Trump Force One: What kind of plane does Trump have?

The former president used a private jet, owned by the Trump Organization, to arrive in Washington.

Dubbed “Trump Force One” by the man himself, the massive Boeing 757 cost $100 million, according to reports.

It also received a facelift amid the indictments to include a new paint job with his name in gold at the front of the aircraft.

− Phillip M. Bailey

What is racketeering?

The federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act originated in 1970 to fight organized crime by allowing prosecutors to target people at the top of criminal organizations.

States then passed their own RICO laws so prosecutors could charge multiple people involved in a conspiracy together if they were working toward a common goal.

Georgia’s RICO law, adopted in 1980, makes it a crime to participate in, acquire or maintain control of an “enterprise” through a “pattern of racketeering activity” or to conspire to do so. The alleged scheme does not have to have been successful for a RICO charge to be proven.

− Ryan Randazzo

Where is Fulton County?

Fulton County is located in northwest Georgia. It’s home to 15 cities, including Atlanta, the state’s capitol.

Trump and his allies are turning themselves in at the Fulton County Jail, which is located about 4 miles north of downtown Atlanta.

− Marina Pitofsky

Marjorie Taylor Greene shows up outside jail to defend Trump

As hundreds of supporters and detractors awaited Donald Trump’s surrender in Georgia, one of his fiercest defenders addressed the crowd outside the Fulton County Jail.

Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, accused Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis of “abusing her power” and said House Republicans will launch an investigation through the Judiciary Committee.

Greene, escorted by security, was surrounded by a swarm of reporters and protesters. During an impromptu press conference, Greene said she spoke to Trump on Thursday ahead of his booking. She defended his actions during the 2020 election, including his phone call to the Georgia secretary of state asking to “find” more vote.

“Why should he even be in court. Why?” she said.

− Phillip M. Bailey

How long will Trump be arrested for?

In a typical booking process, a defendant has their fingerprints and mugshot taken, according to Chris Timmons, a trial attorney at the Knowles Gallant Timmons law firm.

If the defendant is being taken into custody, they would be put in a holding cell, Timmons said. But defendants can have legal agreements that get them out of custody without having to post bail.

“In this particular case, I don’t expect anyone going into custody,” Timmons previously USA TODAY.

The time a booking takes depends on the person, Timmons added. Taking fingerprints takes about three minutes, and getting a mug shot taken takes a minute and a half to two minutes.

“I would assume if the former president of the United States (is) coming to the jail that they’re going to be efficient − ready to go,” Timmons said.

− Sudiksha Kochi

What does indictment mean? 

An indictment is a formal document that contains allegations that someone committed a crime. It includes the charges laid out against a person and is filed before a case can move forward in court, David Weinstein, a former federal and state prosecutor, previously told USA TODAY

Weinstein said that an indictment means a grand jury decided that there’s “more likely than not” enough evidence – based on testimony – to move forward with charging a person. At least twelve jurors must be in agreement that a defendant allegedly committed a crime to issue an indictment. 

After a person is indicted, they must go to trial where a jury will reach a unanimous decision on whether to pursue conviction. 

− USA TODAY staff

Who is Fani Willis? Meet the Fulton County prosecutor

Fani Willis is the district attorney in Fulton County, Georgia.

Willis began investigating Donald Trump after he called Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in January 2021 to plead with him to “find” the votes he needed to win the state in the 2020 election. 

Trump tried to call him more than a dozen times, and the official avoided taking the calls, according to an investigation by the House of Representatives.

− Marina Pitofsky

Who is Trevian Kutti?

Trevian Kutti was a publicist for R. Kelly and Kanye West, and was involved in the alleged intimidation of election workers.

Officials allege Kutti presented herself as someone who could assist Georgia election worker Ruby Freeman, but then she pressured the woman to falsely confess to allegations of election fraud.

− Sudiksha Kochi and David Jackson

How many presidents have been arrested?

Donald Trump became the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges when he was indicted earlier this year in New York in March.

He was indicted on state, not federal, charges tied to hush money payments made amid the 2016 presidential campaign.

− Marina Pitofsky

Donald Trump replaces lawyer Drew Findling with Steven Sadow

Just hours before Donald Trump was set to surrender to Georgia officials, he replaced one of his attorneys, Drew Findling, with Steven Sadow, according to multiple reports.

“I have been retained to represent President Trump in the Fulton County, Georgia case,” Sadow said in a statement, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.“The president should never have been indicted.”

− Marina Pitofsky

What is a RICO charge?

The most notable charge against Trump is racketeering. Georgia prosecutors allege Trump orchestrated a series of crimes with a common objective in mind – remaining in power despite his loss in the 2020 election.

The Georgia case is centered on the state’s RICO statute, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The law was originally intended to combat organized crime, specifically aimed at prosecuting mafia bosses. Though the mafia is largely non-existent today, RICO laws are still used to battle other forms of criminal enterprise. 

RICO laws allow prosecutors to connect multiple crimes among multiple defendants for them to tell a clear story. The charges detail what prosecutors allege is a clear conspiracy to overturn Trump’s loss in the state, with the former president as the mastermind behind the crime.

− Ken Tran

Why is Donald Trump being arrested?

Trump faces 13 charges for alleged racketeering, soliciting state officials to violate their oaths of office, making false statements, filing false statements and conspiracy dealing with fake electors in the state.

The indictment from Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis details a series of episodes where Trump urged state officials to change presidential electors, where his lawyers made false claims about election fraud to state lawmakers and where he asked Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to alter the election results.

– Bart Jansen

Donald Trump raises presidential campaign funds off surrender, arrest

Donald Trump wielded his Georgia arrest Thursday as a fundraising tool for his presidential campaign, as he has after previous indictments.

In a message to supporters, Trump called the “unjust” arrest “a staged and televised spectacle” that he called a “shakedown.”

Trump argued that all four indictments against him – including two from the Justice Department and one in New York – were designed to strike fear into Americans and intimidate his supporters.

– Bart Jansen

Donald Trump to surrender at Fulton County jail criticized for poor conditions

Trump and other defendants in the case are being booked at Fulton County jail, which is known for its poor conditions and management.

The Justice Department is investigating the jail’s living conditions, medical care and use of excessive force.

“The jail is a public health nightmare,” Terrica Ganzy, executive director of the Southern Center Human Rights, said in a statement.

LaShawn Thompson, 35, was found dead in his cell at the Fulton County Jail last year. An independent autopsy report found that the cause of Thompson’s death was “complications due to severe neglect.”

– Sudiksha Kochi

When will Trump surrender in Georgia He answered on Truth Social.

Donald Trump said he will be arrested at 7:30 p.m. EST in a post on Truth Social, his social media platform.

“I have to start getting ARRESTED by a Radical Left, Lowlife, District Attorney,” Trump said in the post before he departed New York for Georgia, attacking Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. 

– Ken Tran

Former President Donald Trump's aircraft departs Newark (NJ) Liberty International Airport Thursday afternoon, August 24, 2023. He is flying to Atlanta to be booked on racketeering and conspiracy charges. Port Newark can be seen in the background. (Via OlyDrop)

Trump raises presidential campaign funds off surrender, arrest

Donald Trump wielded his Georgia arrest Thursday as a fundraising tool for his presidential campaign, as he has after previous indictments.

In a message to supporters, Trump called the “unjust” arrest “a staged and televised spectacle” that he called a “shakedown.”

Trump argued that all four indictments against him – including two from the Justice Department and one in New York – were designed to strike fear into Americans and intimidate his supporters.

– Bart Jansen

Ex-Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis surrenders in Georgia

Jenna Ellis, who served as a lawyer for Donald Trump’s campaign, allegedly appeared before different state legislators with Rudy Giuliani to present false claims of election fraud.

Ellis faces two charges: violation of the RICO Act and solicitation of violation of oath by a public officer. She agreed to a $100,000 bond.

Dueling offers for a speedy trial

One of Donald Trump’s co-defendants, Kenneth Chesebro, asked for a speedy trial on Georgia racketeering charges before the next election. Fulton County Attorney Fani Willis offered to start the trial two months after the indictment, on Oct. 23.

Trump has proposed to delay his other pending criminal trials until after the 2024 presidential election. Willis had proposed to start her trial March 4, although Trump and the judge haven’t responded yet.

Chesebro is a lawyer who allegedly developed the strategy to have Vice President Mike Pence reject the state’s presidential electors when Congress counted them Jan. 6, 2021. In addition to racketeering, Chesebro is charged with six conspiracy counts related to recruiting fake electors to support Trump in the state President Joe Biden won.

Chesebro’s lawyers, Scott Grubman and Manubir Arora, said a speedy trial should start the first Monday of January, March, May, July, September or November.

Willis offered to start even faster, in the next term after the current grand jury term, on Oct. 23.

– Bart Jansen

Why wasn’t Donald Trump at the Republican debate?

Donald Trump didn’t skip the first Republican debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday over his booking in Georgia or any of the other charges against him.

Instead, the former president long said he didn’t want to give his Republican rivals trailing him in the polls a chance to take shots at him on a national stage.

Trump has also threatened to skip the next Republican debate in September.

− Marina Pitofsky

Ex-Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows surrenders

ormer White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows surrendered at Georgia’s Fulton County Jail on Thursday to be booked on charges for allegedly conspiring to overturn the 2020 election in the state, according to reports.

Meadows was charged with allegedly soliciting Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to violate his oath of office by participating in a call on Jan. 2, 2021 – just days before the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack – in which Trump asked to “find” enough votes to win the state.

He was also charged with violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which is a type of measure that typically targets people engaged in organized crime.  

− Sudiksha Kochi

Who is Harrison Floyd?

Harrison Floyd served as the leader for the organization Black Voices for Trump.

The indictment states Floyd and other individuals “unlawfully conspired to solicit, request, and importune Ruby Freeman,” a Fulton County election worker, to engage in conduct that constitutes the felony offense of false statements and writings.

Floyd faces three charges: violation of the RICO Act, conspiracy to commit solicitation of false statements and writings and influencing witnesses.

− Sudiksha Kochi and David Jackson

Will Donald Trump be released in Georgia?

Donald Trump’s lawyers reached an agreement Monday for him to be released pending trial after posting 10% of a $200,000 bond.

Conditions of his release include not threatening or intimidating witnesses, including on social media, or communicating with co-defendants except through their lawyers.

− Bart Jansen, Phillip M. Bailey and Josh Meyer

Will there be a Donald Trump booking photo?

Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat has indicated publicly that Trump would be treated differently in Atlanta than he has during his past three arraignments – but just the same as any other criminal defendant being processed into the county criminal justice system.

“It doesn’t matter your status,” he said at a press briefing. ”We have a mug shot ready for you.

“Unless someone tells me differently,” he added, “we are following our normal practices.”

− Josh Meyer

What did Donald Trump do to get arrested?

A Georgia grand jury indicted former President Donald Trump and his allies earlier this month on charges of conspiracy to try to steal Georgia’s electoral votes from President Joe Biden after the 2020 election.

The indictment, bringing 41 charges against 19 defendants, accuses Trump and other co-conspirators of a coordinated plan to have state officials discard Biden’s victory and award the state to Trump. 

The case revolves mostly around the state’s RICO statute, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which penalizes activities of individuals engaging in organized crime.

− USA TODAY Staff

Jim Jordan questions motivation, timing behind Trump indictment

The chairman of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee wrote Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis on Thursday to ask about motivations and timing of the indictment of Donald Trump, with charges against 18 co-defendants and 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Willis launched a fundraising website four days before the indictment was handed up, promoting her investigation into Trump. A county clerk inadvertently released the charges against Trump before the grand jury voted. And a judge barred Willis from investigating Lt. Gov. Burt Jones in the case because she held a fundraiser for his political opponent.

“The timing of this prosecution reinforces concerns about your motivation,” Jordan wrote.

Jordan also questioned the timing of the indictment. Willis began her investigation in February 2021 and brought charges two and a half years later. She proposed the trial begin March 4, eight days before Georgia’s primary, when Trump is running for president and Willis is running for reelection.

“It is therefore unsurprising many have speculated that this indictment and prosecution are designed to interfere with the 2024 presidential election,” Jordan said.

Jordan asked Willis to provide information by Sept. 7 about federal funding to her office and communications with Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, who also charged Trump with interfering with the 2020 election.

Legal experts and House Democrats argued Jordan was interfering with a local prosecution when he wrote a similar letter to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who charged Trump with falsifying business records.

–Bart Jansen

People around the Fulton County Jail intake center in Atlanta, GA on Aug. 24, 2023, the day former President Donald Trump plans to surrender to Atlanta authorities. A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia indicted former president Donald Trump and 18 other defendants with 41 charges related to tampering with the 2020 election. All defendants have been ordered to turn themselves in by August 25.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) asks questions as Gary Shapley, Supervisory Special Agent for the IRS, and Joseph Ziegler, Criminal Investigator for the IRS, testify in front of the House Oversight Committee on July 19, 2023 in Washington. Shapley alleges that the Justice Department interfered in the IRS investigation of Hunter Biden.

Rudy Giuliani’s surrender demonstrated how Trump’s arrest could be chaotic

Rudy Giuliani, a Trump lawyer and former federal prosecutor who was indicted with him, attracted a throng of reporters and a crowd of protesters supporting or opposing the charges when he surrendered at the Fulton County jail.

Giuliani’s political strategist, Ted Goodman, signaled to reporters he would give an impromptu statement after being booked. But he attempted to hold the gaggle in the middle of a two-lane street, which would have blocked traffic in an area sheriff’s deputies spent hours trying to keep clear.

Residents near the jail demanded vehicles be towed for parking along the neighborhood streets. One resident was so fed up with the national spotlight he screamed at people to leave the area while driving up the tiny road. The loudspeaker of a deputy’s SUV blared orders for reporters to disperse.

Giuliani’s team found another location, but reporters, protesters and body guards swarmed him before he took two paces out of his SUV.

“This indictment is a travesty,” Giuliani said, as city crew workers began setting up portable toilets for tomorrow when Trump’s booking is expected to bring an even larger crowd.

– Phillip M. Bailey

Aug 23, 2023; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani speaks with the media after being processed at the Fulton County Jail. A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia indicted Donald Trump. The indictment includes 41 charges against 19 defendants, from the former president to his former attorney Rudy Guiliani and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The legal case centers on the state’s RICO statute, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
In this photo taken on December 7, 2020 US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.
People around the Fulton County Jail intake center in Atlanta, GA on Aug. 24, 2023, the day former President Donald Trump plans to surrender to Atlanta authorities. A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia indicted former president Donald Trump and 18 other defendants with 41 charges related to tampering with the 2020 election. All defendants have been ordered to turn themselves in by August 25.
Ngoc Trang and protesters around the Fulton County Jail intake center in Atlanta, GA on Aug. 24, 2023, the day former President Donald Trump plans to surrender to Atlanta authorities. A grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia indicted former president Donald Trump and 18 other defendants with 41 charges related to tampering with the 2020 election. All defendants have been ordered to turn themselves in by August 25.
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