In the US, bizarrely, it has become normal for an ex-president to appear in court. With charge number four against Donald Trump, however, some things are different.
Former US President Donald Trump plans to appear in the Atlanta County Jail on Thursday after being charged in connection with attempted voter fraud in the state of Georgia. Trump wrote in advance on the Truth Social platform he co-founded that no one had ever fought for the integrity of elections like he had. For this he will be arrested “with pride” on Thursday afternoon (local time).
In Atlanta, the Republican presidential candidate has to endure the formal procedure that follows an impeachment. But he can leave the city again afterwards. The fact that Trump, unlike previous charges, does not have to appear in court but in prison has a new quality, at least visually.
Trump has been charged with 18 other suspects over his attempts to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Prosecutors had given the Republican and the other defendants until this Friday to make a voluntary appearance to the authorities in Atlanta.
The appearances of the accused
The first suspects appeared at the Atlanta County Jail on Tuesday and left after being registered. Other defendants turned themselves in to authorities there on Wednesday, including Trump’s former attorney Rudy Giuliani.
At such appointments, the personal details of those affected are usually recorded, and police photos are often taken. This can formally be an arrest, but it does not have to be. How exactly the process will be with Trump was initially unclear. The authorities had refrained from taking police photos of him in previous charges against the ex-president in New York, Miami and Washington. It might be different in Atlanta.
An exact time for Trump’s appearance in Atlanta was not initially known. Trump spoke of an appearance in the afternoon (local time) – that could be late in the evening according to German time. The sheriff’s office said the jail is open 24 hours a day. The accused could therefore present themselves to the authorities there at any time.
Appearing in Atlanta on Wednesday, Giuliani said he was “honoured” to be involved in the case. “This is an attack on the American people.” In his view, the accusation was a farce.
The allegations against Trump and others
In the almost 100-page indictment, Trump and several accomplices are accused, among other things, of having urged public officials to violate their oath of office in order to subsequently overturn the outcome of the election in Georgia. Trump narrowly lost the state in the 2020 presidential election. A criminal offense from the so-called Rico law is particularly delicate in the indictment. This makes it possible to take action against several suspects at the same time as part of a criminal organization. The law was originally enacted to combat mafia racketeering.
Trump supporters called for a gathering outside the Atlanta jail on Thursday. The safety precautions around the building were tightened in advance.
A Georgia court had ordered Trump bail of $200,000 (around €184,000) so he could remain at large. In the four ongoing criminal proceedings against him, it is the first time that such a monetary condition has become known.
The other charges
Trump has already been indicted at the federal level in Washington for his campaign against his own defeat in the 2020 election. In the 2020 presidential election, he lost to his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. To this day, however, Trump has not admitted this defeat, instead spreading the lie that he was deprived of victory through electoral fraud.
Indictments have also been filed against Trump in New York and Miami. The New York case is related to hush money payments to a porn star. The Miami case revolves around the safekeeping of top-secret government documents in a private Trump home. The 77-year-old, who wants to run again in the 2024 presidential election, rejects all allegations and sees the accusations as an attempt by his opponents to prevent him from running for another term.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.