Midday Friday was the deadline given by Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis for the 19 accused of conspiring to overturn the results of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election to appear before authorities.
Former US President Donald Trump and the others named in the case were taken to the Fulton County Jail, where they were indiscriminately fingerprinted and mugshotted.
In doing so, the controversial prison became the first in the country’s history to take a police search photograph of a former US president. A blue suit, white shirt, and red tie, and looking directly into the camera, became Trump’s most defining image.
In record time for the jail known as “Rice Street,” the former president spent about 20 minutes inside the building for the transfer process. John Felipe Acevedo, a law professor at Emory University in Atlanta, explained to Voice of America that this is also due to the bail agreement that Trump’s lawyers had previously made with the prosecution.
Demonstrators and Trump supporters have been gathering in front of the prison since the early hours of the morning to voice their opinions on the case. The authorities were forced to increase security measures.
“The Fulton County Jail is tightening security. The agents will continue to ensure a safe space for the protesters. “Anyone who breaks the law, however, will be arrested and face appropriate consequences,” District Sheriff Patrick Labat said in a written statement following Trump’s inauguration.
This was also the first time Trump was forced to post bail, which was set at $200,000 for him. Under county law, the former president had to pay 10% of that amount, or $20,000, when he was incarcerated.
In the three allegations in New York, Miami, and Washington, he only had to appear in court before a judge.
“What happened here is a travesty of justice. We haven’t done anything wrong. “I have done nothing wrong. (…) We have every right to challenge an election that we believe is dishonest,” Trump said from the steps of his plane just before returning to New Jersey Thursday night.
After Trump’s signing, five other defendants turned themselves in at night and early in the morning. Michael Roman, Shawn Still, Jeffrey Clark, Misty Hampton, and Bob Cheeley arrived at the jail after midnight.
The last two on the list of co-defendants were publicist Trevian Kutti and Rev. Stephen Cliffgard Lee, who arrived early Friday morning.
Among the most prominent defendants indicted before the former president are his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and his former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the latter a former mayor of New York.
Of the 19 defendants, only one failed to reach an agreement on bail with prosecutors. Harrison Floyd, who is implicated in the case as one of the people who “harassed” poll workers into making false admissions of voter fraud,
As of Friday morning, Floyd remained incarcerated in the Fulton County Jail and was the only one on the case under the circumstances.
The VOA was able to verify that the area surrounding the Fulton Courthouse remained quiet Friday morning and the building’s regular operations with passersbycontinued to be active.
Abel, an Atlanta resident, told VOA he “didn’t even know” the former president had been in jail the day before.
They suggest starting the process in October
In a petition filed by Willis on Thursday, the district attorney asked the court to begin the trial of the 19 defendants on Octoberber 23, 2023, despite the originally proposed date of March next year.
Willis’ request came after one of the co-defendants, Kenneth Chesebro, filed a request for a summary trial. Trump’s legal team was quick to voice the former president’s opposition to Willis’ proposed new appointment.
In addition, the former president asked the court to separate his case from Chesebro’s “or any other co-defendant filing a lawsuit” for a speedy trial.
In this case, the selection of the jury began in January 2023 and is still ongoing.