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Trump to surrender Thursday in Georgia

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports | August 22, 2023 at 5:06 a.m.
FILE - Former President Donald Trump is escorted to a courtroom, April 4, 2023, in New York. Trumps bond has been set at $200,000 in the Georgia case accusing the former president of scheming to overturn his 2020 election loss. The bond agreement was outlined in a court filing signed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and Trumps defense attorneys. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Former President Donald Trump says he will surrender to authorities in Georgia on Thursday to face charges in the case accusing him of illegally scheming to overturn his 2020 election loss.

"Can you believe it? I'll be going to Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday to be ARRESTED," Trump wrote on his social media network Monday night, hours after court papers said his bond was set at $200,000.

The Fulton County sheriff's office said in a news release Monday afternoon that when Trump surrenders there will be a "hard lockdown" of the area surrounding the main county jail.

Trump is also barred from intimidating co-defendants, witnesses or victims in the case -- including on social media -- according to the bond agreement signed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, Trump's defense attorneys and the judge. It explicitly includes "posts on social media or reposts of posts" made by others.

Trump has repeatedly used social media to attack people involved in the criminal cases against him as he campaigns to reclaim the White House in 2024. He has been critical of Willis since before he was indicted, and singled out Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp -- a Republican who rebuffed his efforts to overturn the election -- by name in a social media post Monday morning.

The agreement prohibits the former president from making any "direct or indirect threat of any nature" against witnesses or co-defendants, and from communicating in any way about the facts of the case with them, except through attorneys.

The order sets Trump's bond for the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations -- or RICO -- charge at $80,000, and adds $10,000 for each of the 12 other counts he is facing. Bond is the amount defendants must pay as a form of collateral to ensure they show up in court ahead of trial.

Willis has set a deadline of noon Friday for Trump and his 18 co-defendants to turn themselves in to be booked. The prosecutor has proposed that arraignments for the defendants follow during the week of Sept. 5. She has said she wants to try the defendants collectively, and bring the case to trial in March of next year, which would put it in the heat of the presidential nominating season.

In Fulton County, when defendants are not in custody, their lawyers and the district attorney's office will often work out a bond amount before arraignment and the judge will sign off on it. The defendants will generally be booked at the Fulton County jail. During the booking process, they are typically photographed and fingerprinted, and then they provide certain personal information. Since Trump's bond has already been set, he will be released from custody once the booking process is complete.

A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A phone message seeking comment was also left for an attorney for the former president.

Trump was charged last week in the case alongside a slew of allies, who prosecutors say conspired to subvert the will of voters in a desperate bid to keep the Republican in the White House after he lost to Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and he characterizes the case -- and three others he is facing -- as efforts to hurt his 2024 presidential campaign. He has regularly used his Truth Social platform to single out prosecutors and others involved in his cases, and to continue to make claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

In a post on Monday, Trump called the Fulton County district attorney "crooked, incompetent, & highly partisan." He also attacked Kemp, whom he has long targeted for the governor's refusal to intervene after the 2020 election. Kemp has been outspoken in pushing back against Trump, writing in social media last week: "The 2020 election in Georgia was not stolen."

Bond was also set Monday for three lawyers who were indicted along with Trump. For each of them, the bond for the RICO charge was set at $20,000, with varying amounts for the other charges they face. John Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro each had a bond set at $100,000.

Bail bondsman Scott Hall, who was accused of participating in a breach of election equipment in rural Coffee County, had his bond set at $10,000. Another defendant, Georgia-based attorney Ray Smith, has been assessed a $50,000 bond. Smith is charged with helping organize fake electors for Trump and trying to sway Georgia lawmakers with false statements alleging election fraud.

Other defendants include former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and a Trump administration Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who aided the then-president's efforts to undo his election loss in Georgia.


Federal prosecutors objected Monday to the April 2026 trial date proposed by lawyers for Trump in the case accusing the former president of scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Members of special counsel Jack Smith's team said in a court filing that Trump's lawyers last week had exaggerated the amount of material they would need to sift through in order to be ready for trial.

In suggesting an April 2026 trial date, defense lawyers said they had been provided by prosecutors with 11.5 million pages of potential evidence to review. But prosecutors said much of that includes duplicate pages or information that is already public, such as documents from the House committee that investigated the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as well as copies of Trump's social media posts.

"In cases such as this one, the burden of reviewing discovery cannot be measured by page count alone, and comparisons to the height of the Washington Monument and the length of a Tolstoy novel are neither helpful nor insightful; in fact, comparisons such as those are a distraction from the issue at hand -- which is determining what is required to prepare for trial," prosecutors wrote.

Smith's team has proposed a Jan. 2, 2024, trial date.


The FBI has joined an investigation into a barrage of threats against Fulton County officials in recent days, including members of the Atlanta-area grand jury that voted to indict Trump and his allies in the Georgia case.

A spokesperson for the FBI Atlanta office said that the agency is "aware of threats of violence" against Fulton County officials and that it is working with the Fulton County sheriff's office to investigate -- but declined to identify specific targets or whether anyone has acted on those threats.

"It is our policy not to discuss details of ongoing investigations," the FBI statement said. "However, each and every potential threat brought to our attention is taken seriously. Individuals found responsible for making threats in violation of state and/or federal laws will be prosecuted."

The statement came amid growing concern about the safety of grand jurors involved in last Monday's indictment after the names, home addresses, photos and social media profiles of some members of the panel circulated online along with threatening messages targeting them and Willis.

Under Georgia law, names of grand jurors are publicly listed on indictments -- an effort at transparency that some have questioned in light of ongoing threats in the aftermath of the charges against Trump and others accused of conspiring to overturn Georgia's 2020 presidential election results.

In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat said investigators with the department were "working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to track down the origin of threats in Fulton County and other jurisdictions."

"We take this matter very seriously and are coordinating with our law enforcement partners to respond quickly to any credible threat and to ensure the safety of those individuals who carried out their civic duty," the statement said.

Local police departments, including the Atlanta police, have also been monitoring threats against the jurors and are prepared to respond quickly if needed, according to an official who, like others in this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about sensitive security issues.

In addition to statements targeting the grand jurors, there have been increased threats against Willis and other county officials in recent days, according to a person familiar with the matter. The courthouse building has been the subject of repeated bomb threats, this person said.

Some of those threats have also targeted Labat, who made headlines in recent weeks when he announced Trump would be treated like any other defendant in Fulton County by being fingerprinted and processed at the main county jail, a facility that is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation by the Justice Department.

Security has been increased in recent days for Willis, who has repeatedly raised concerns about racist, threatening phone calls and emails to her and her staff since she launched the investigation into Trump and his allies 2½ years ago. Willis, the first Black woman elected Fulton County district attorney, has faced intensifying attacks from Trump, who repeatedly called her a "racist" and accused her of seeking to interfere with his 2024 campaign for president.

A spokesman for Willis declined to comment on security issues.

Extremism monitors have tracked dozens of examples of violent online rhetoric aimed at the jurors and Willis.

As soon as the indictment was published, the grand jurors' names swirled in right-wing online forums, often accompanied by photos and personal information, including addresses. Several jurors disabled their Facebook or LinkedIn profiles. Extremists posted screenshots of the pages.

In the forums, users imagined the jurors' being tried and convicted of indicting Trump, with thinly veiled references to death sentences or vigilante justice, according to a compilation released by Advance Democracy, a nonpartisan research group that tracks extremist threats.

"These jurors have signed their death warrant by falsely indicting President Trump," one user wrote in a large forum for pro-Trump extremists, according to the report.

In other forums, users referred to the grand jurors' names as a "hit list," prompting a reply about long-range rifles, according to the left-leaning watchdog group Media Matters. The report also included an exchange where users were trying to determine the racial and religious backgrounds of the jurors. "There are only 2 names on there that could be jewish," one user said, listing the names.

Information for this article was contributed by Alanna Durkin Richer, Jill Colvin, Kate Brumback, Jeff Amy, Russ Bynum and staff writers of The Associated Press and by Holly Bailey and Hannah Allam of The Washington Post.

Print Headline: Trump to surrender Thursday in Georgia


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