Trump to face mug shot at Atlanta jail in 2020 election case

FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential contender Trump campaigns at Iowa State Fair

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he campaigns at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S. August 12, 2023. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein Acquire Licensing Rights

ATLANTA, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Donald Trump is set to make history as the first former U.S. president to submit to a mug shot when he appears at an Atlanta jail on Thursday evening to face criminal charges of trying to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

Trump already has entered uncharted territory as the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges, though those four cases against him have not slowed his momentum as the front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination to run against Democratic President Joe Biden in next year’s election.

Now the businessman-turned-politician who for years hosted a reality TV show is due to join the ranks of gangster Al Capone, crooner Frank Sinatra and other high-profile Americans who have posed for jailhouse photographs.

The image is certain to be circulated widely by Trump’s foes and supporters alike.

“We want to put it on a T-shirt. It will go worldwide. It will be a more popular image than the Mona Lisa,” said Laura Loomer, 30, a Republican former congressional candidate who mingled with other Trump supporters outside the jail on Thursday morning.

One of the most recognizable people in the world, Trump has not had to submit to a photo in the other three cases. But fake mug shots have circulated online since shortly after he was first indicted in Manhattan in March on charges involving hush money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

Some of his co-defendants in the case brought by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis already have been booked in Atlanta on charges of trying to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia. Rudolph Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor to rose to fame by taking on the Mafia, stood stone-faced in his mug shot while Jenna Ellis, a lawyer accused of joining Trump’s scheme, smiled.

All of the 19 defendants in the sprawling case must surrender by Friday.

In the Georgia case, Trump faces 13 felony counts including racketeering, which is typically used to target organized crime, for pressuring state officials to reverse his election loss and setting up an illegitimate slate of electors to undermine the formal congressional certification of Biden’s victory.

Trump, 77, is due to enter a plea in the Georgia case on Sept. 5 and has pleaded not guilty in the other three other cases. He has denied wrongdoing and has called all the cases politically motivated.

He faces 91 criminal counts in total. In addition to the New York state charges brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump faces two sets of federal charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith – one case in Washington involving election interference and one in Miami involving classified documents he retained after leaving office in 2021.

Trump has agreed to post $200,000 bond and accepted bail conditions that would bar him from threatening witnesses or his 18 co-defendants in the Georgia case. Trump on Wednesday added Atlanta criminal defense attorney Steve Sadow to his legal team, a court filing showed.

The Federal Aviation Administration ordered that the airspace over the jail be closed beginning around 6:45 p.m. ET (2245 GMT), citing “VIP movement.” The jail has a reputation for grim conditions that have inspired rap songs and prompted an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Republicans who control the U.S. House of Representatives said on Thursday they would investigate whether Willis improperly coordinated with federal prosecutors. They previously launched an investigation of Bragg, who accused them of a “campaign of intimidation.”

‘I’M APPALLED’

About a dozen Trump supporters, some holding flags, gathered outside the jail awaiting his arrival.

“I’m here because I’m appalled at what’s happening,” said Bob Kunst, 81, a retiree who said he had driven from Miami Beach and stood outside the jailhouse with a homemade sign that read “Lock Biden Up.”

Trump called for nationwide protests after his Manhattan indictment in March, prompting fears of violent unrest along the lines of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Authorities have reported no violence outside the courthouses in Manhattan, Miami and Washington where he has been arraigned.

Trump’s planned jailhouse visit comes a day after his rivals in the race for the Republican presidential nomination met in Milwaukee for their initial debate. Trump skipped that event, instead sitting for a pre-taped interview with conservative commentator Tucker Carlson on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

“I’ve been indicted four times – all trivial nonsense,” Trump said.

Trump’s lead in opinion polls in the Republican race has widened since his first indictment but political analysts have said his legal woes could alienate the independent voters he would need to win in a general election rematch with Biden, who defeated him in the 2020 popular vote by 7 million votes.

Additional reporting by Jack Queen; writing by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Will Dunham, Scott Malone and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Andy covers politics and policy in Washington. His work has been cited in Supreme Court briefs, political attack ads and at least one Saturday Night Live skit.

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