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Donald Trump to be booked in Georgia today. Here’s what to expect

The former U.S. president is expected to turn himself in Thursday to the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, where he will be booked on RICO charges that cast him as the head of a criminal enterprise bent on subverting Georgia’s 2020 election results.

Trump being fingerprinted, having mugshot taken will be a ‘remarkable moment,’ presidential historian says

Donald Trump speaks at a podium with a Georgia sign on it.

When the 45th president of the United States enters the Fulton County Jail to be booked on the 13 count indictment that casts him as part of a criminal enterprise to overthrow the results of the 2020 election, he will do so before a media circus camped outside its gates in the hot Georgia sun.

A throng of journalists and cameras have been camped outside the courthouse and the jail 24/7 since the indictment came down and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis handed former U.S. president Donald Trump and all 19 of those indicted along with him a deadline of noon on Friday, Aug. 25, to hammer out bond agreements and turn themselves in.

While Trump said he would surrender on Thursday, some others who were indicted had already surrendered themselves, including lawyers John Eastman, Jenna Ellis, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Trump's former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, surrendered Thursday afternoon.

Hours before Trump's arrival, Willis called for a trial start date for Trump and his 18 co-defendants of Oct. 23, 2023, an accelerated timeline. She had previously proposed starting the trial on March 4, 2024.

Typically, when people are arrested in Fulton County, they're booked at the jail and appear before a magistrate. Many processed here languish for weeks because they cannot pay bail, according to a 2022 report from the American Civil Liberties Union.

In the case of The State of Georgia V Donald J. Trump, the process is moving much more swiftly, partly because the parties have already been indicted and partly because the bond agreements are being worked out ahead of time with Willis's office.

Balding man in suit with neutral face stands beside Sheriff's Office emblem

'Biggest case that's ever been'

"You don't have to hang out in a holding cell until you find out what your bond is, or until you spend time calling a bonding company to see if that they can make your bond," said former Georgia prosecutor Christopher Timmons, who calls this RICO case "the biggest case that's ever been" in North America.

"This is the head of the largest, one of the largest countries in the world, and a leader of the free world. And that person is now under indictment in the state of Georgia," he said.

On Monday, Trump's legal team finalized the terms of his $200,000 US bond agreement with strict conditions.

It prohibits Trump from obstructing justice, making any threats toward codefendants, witnesses, victims or the wider community, and specifically states that this includes posts or reposts on social media. To get bail, Trump will have to post 10 per cent of his bond.

"Twenty thousands dollars is nothing to him," Timmons said. "So he'll be able to post that right away and be out."

A blond man in a dark suit sits next to a window overlooking trees.

According to the Fulton County Jail website, when accused are booked at the jail they are typically subject to a property intake, medical screening, fingerprinting, photographing and a warrants check.

Usually, the medical check is for people who will be booked into the jail. Timmons says it's "up in the air" as to whether Trump will have to go through that process.

"But certainly he'll have his fingerprints taken and he'll have his mug shot taken," he said.

WATCH | Breaking down the Georgia case against Trump:

Breaking down Trump's Georgia election interference case

9 days ago

Duration 6:45

Former U.S. president Donald Trump is now facing four indictments and 91 criminal charges, including a racketing charge in Georgia. Former assistant U.S. attorney Caren Morrison and CBC Washington correspondent Paul Hunter break down the cases and the potential impact they could have.

A 'remarkable moment'

Any booking photo of Trump that comes out of the Sheriff's office will form a significant part of his historical legacy, says Lindsay Chervinsky, a senior fellow at the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University.

"I think there will be a couple of images that will inevitably become part of the Trump legacy. Without a doubt, there will be an image of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the violence of the insurrection," she said.

A woman with shoulder-length brown hair smiles at the camera.

"There will be a mug shot. And then if he is convicted and if he is either sent to prison or if he is sent to house arrest or whatever the consequences may be, there will be an image that captures that and captures the really deflated status that he, in that case, would rightfully deserve."

Chervinsky says Americans shouldn't become immune to the uniqueness of the situation, even though the former president has been indicted three times before.

The Georgia indictment stands out, she says, in part because Trump is getting no special treatment because of his former presidential status.

"Which is really just a remarkable moment that a president has behaved in such a way that that sort of treatment would even be required," she said.

"We've never seen it before in the United States. And I don't think that we can become immune to the unprecedented nature of this moment."

The Fulton County Jail experience

But Trump and his alleged co-conspirators indicted along with him are getting a different experience at the Fulton County Jail than most who pass through its doors.

The jail has been widely criticized over the last several years by civil rights groups who say it's been understaffed and overcrowded.

Fulton County Jail, a large brick and cement building, is seen from its parking lot.

In 2022, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report on the Fulton County Jail population, noting that the Sheriff's Office has been subject to numerous costly lawsuits and complaints alleging prolonged detention, neglect and inhumane conditions in its jails.

That same year the Southern Centre for Human Rights also released a report compiling information from an open records request. It found that medical professionals brought in to assess a September 2022 outbreak in the facility found that 100 per cent of the people in one unit had either lice, scabies or both.

It's unlikely anyone indicted in this white-collar RICO case will experience any of those conditions.

Protests expected

There will also likely be protesters and supporters outside the jail.

On Wednesday evening a lone truck with a Trump flag drove along the road outside the jail while supporters of the indictment unfurled a banner on a grassy bank across from the jail entrance.

Some Trump supporters have pledged to hold what they say will be a peaceful rally for the former president outside the Fulton County Jail Thursday morning. Small crowds both for and against Trump have appeared around other indictments in Florida, Washington, D.C., and New York without major incident.

Sharon Anderson drove to Atlanta from Etowah, Tenn., Wednesday night, slept in her car, and was out showing her support before daybreak.

"He fights for every citizen of this country and that's the least I can do," she said in an interview with CBC News. "The man has suffered so much for seven years, and I can suffer this much."

A smiling woman wearing a pro-Trump t-shirt sits with her hand on a yellow portable fan under an umbrella.

On Wednesday, Georgia faith leaders held a rally in support of DA Fani Willis at Liberty Plaza in downtown Atlanta.

Threats against prosecutors have persisted throughout the myriad investigations into Trump. In Fulton County, there have been threats of violence made against court staff, including Willis, and members of the grand jury who were also doxxed after the indictment.

WATCH | Threats made against grand jurors who indicted Trump:

Authorities investigate threats against Trump grand jurors

7 days ago

Duration 2:01

Authorities in the U.S. are investigating threats connected to the Georgia indictment of Donald Trump. Officials, the DA and now, the grand jury have all been targeted.

The area around the Fulton County Courthouse has been subject to road closures, barricades and a stepped up police presence for most of August.

The county jail will also observe a strict lockdown when Trump arrives for processing with his secret service in tow.

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