She said the defendants have until noon Aug. 25 to surrender.
“Keep in mind, defendants can turn themselves in at any time,” the sheriff’s office said. “The jail is open 24/7. Also, due to the unprecedented nature of this case, some circumstances may change with little or no warning.”
Located just west of the Georgia Tech campus and north of Bankhead, the jail is persistently overcrowded. Fulton County recently reached a $4 million settlement with the family of Lashawn Thompson, who was discovered dead and covered in bugs just under a year ago. Attorney Michael Harper, who represents Thompson’s family, displayed what he said were photos from the man’s cell during an April news conference.
“This is inexcusable and it is deplorable,” Harper said of the filthy conditions the photos show.
Last month, the Justice Department said it had opened an investigation.
Between 2009 and October 2022, more than 60 Fulton inmates died, the highest total for any jail in Georgia during that time, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation.
Opened in 1989 to house 1,125, the facility was almost immediately overcrowded, county officials have said. The jail’s population was 2,534 as of Tuesday night, down from more than 3,200 earlier this year but still 280 over the jail’s “operational capacity.”
Credit: Michael Blackshire
Credit: Michael Blackshire
In March, the company that provides health care for the jail warned that its staff had been assaulted, a patient had been stabbed and that Fulton’s lockup was the most dangerous of the more than 70 jails it services nationwide.
Birmingham-based NaphCare later told the department that conditions had worsened and that it would end its $27 million contract with the county on May 31, seven months early. Fulton commissioners ultimately approved a $4.8 million contract amendment to keep the company in place as the jail’s health care provider through the end of this year.
Two detainees have died in the jail in the past month, most recently a 34-year-old who had been locked up for nearly four years.
In some instances, defense attorneys can negotiate the terms of their clients’ surrender, particularly in high-profile cases. Police officers indicted on murder charges, for instance, rarely spend more than a few hours in the Fulton jail before bonding out. It’s not clear when Trump plans to surrender; he has said he will speak Monday at his Bedminster, New Jersey, property and claims he will present evidence then that proves his innocence.
Co-defendants include Trump lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former state Republican Party chairman David Shafer. Meadows on Tuesday sought to move criminal charges filed against him in Fulton County to federal court.
Given the Justice Department’s probe and the potential safety concerns at the jail, Trump’s attorneys and security detail could seek alternative arrangements for his surrender.
Fulton Sheriff Patrick Labat has said Trump would be treated like any other detainee.
“It doesn’t matter your status,” Labat said ahead of the indictment. “We have a mugshot ready for you.”