Former President Donald Trump plans to turn himself in to authorities on Thursday to face charges that he helped orchestrate a sweeping “criminal enterprise” with his allies to overturn his 2020 defeat in Georgia.
Trump said in a social media post Monday that he will report to the Fulton County Jail on Thursday, the eve of the deadline set by District Attorney Fani Willis. The sheriff’s office said last week that Trump and the other 18 defendants named in the charging document will be booked at the jail.
“Keep in mind, defendants can turn themselves in at any time,” the sheriff’s office said. “The jail is open 24/7.”
Trump’s bond was set for $200,000 on Monday in an order that banned him from intimidating witnesses or codefendants “or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” including through posts on social media.
Trump has blasted the 41-count indictment in Fulton County as a product of a corrupt justice system while renewing lies that he became the first Republican nominee to lose Georgia since 1992 because the election was “rigged.”
That brought a sharp rejoinder from Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who wrote a blunt post on social media: “The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen.” He was echoed by former Vice President Mike Pence and ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who are also both running for president.
Trump’s surrender will take place hours after the first Republican debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday, which the former president won’t attend. He announced his decision to boycott the event in a social media post that cited polls of his dominant lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican rivals.
Trump isn’t expected to spend much time at the jail, though Sheriff Pat Labat has indicated he and his allies would be treated like others charged with a crime. That means they will be fingerprinted and could have a mug shot taken.
Law enforcement officials have already begun preparations. The sheriff’s office said Monday it would implement a “hard lockdown” around the jail ahead of the president’s arrival and that the facility’s main parking lot would be off limits to the media.
Prosecutors set a deadline of Friday at noon for Trump and his allies to turn themselves in. In his social media post Monday, Trump renewed his claim that Willis’ prosecution is part of a “witch hunt” to help Democrats defeat his comeback bid.
“This is in strict coordination with Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ,” he wrote on Truth Social, the social media site he launched. “It is all about ELECTION INTERFERENCE!”
The facility located just west of the Georgia Tech campus has long been plagued with problems. It is consistently overcrowded and is the focus of a Justice Department investigation that cited the recent death of an inmate who was covered in bugs when his body was discovered.
On Aug. 17, a 66-year-old man being held on a shoplifting charge was found dead in the jail’s medical unit. It was the third such death in the jail since July and the second in a week, according to the Fulton Sheriff’s Office.
More than 60 people who were held in Fulton’s jail died between 2009 and October 2022, the highest total for any jail in Georgia during that time, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation. Built in 1989 with capacity for 2,688 inmates, it was holding 3,221 as of April.
The jail, known to Atlantans simply as “Rice Street,” could make history as the first institution to take a U.S. president’s mug shot. Even so, Trump has sold T-shirts with a fake mug shot with the words “NOT GUILTY” in bold letters for campaign donations.
The Fulton County charges are the most sprawling of the four indictments against Trump, which together involve 91 felony counts that carry significant prison time.
The indictment centers on state racketeering charges that accuse Trump and his 18 co-defendants of “knowingly and willfully” joining a conspiracy that spread from the halls of the state Capitol to a squat county building in rural Coffee County.
Others facing charges include former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, ex-state GOP chair David Shafer and state Sen. Shawn Still. The charging document also includes 30 unindicted co-conspirators.
Trump’s attorneys are expected to soon file a motion seeking to get the case against him moved to federal court, as attorneys for Meadows already have. An Aug. 28 hearing has been set in front of U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones.