ATLANTA -- Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's lawyer and confidant, turned himself in at a jail in Atlanta on Wednesday on charges related to efforts to overturn then-President Trump's loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia.
The former New York mayor was indicted last week along with Trump and 17 others. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis said they participated in a wide-ranging conspiracy to subvert the will of the voters after the Republican president lost to Democrat Joe Biden in November 2020.
Bond for Giuliani, who was released after booking like the other defendants, was set at $150,000, second only to Trump's $200,000.
Giuliani, 79, is accused of spearheading Trump's efforts to compel state lawmakers in Georgia and other closely contested states to ignore the will of voters and illegally appoint electoral college electors favorable to Trump.
Other high-profile defendants also surrendered Wednesday, including Jenna Ellis, an attorney who prosecutors say was involved in efforts to convince state lawmakers to unlawfully appoint presidential electors, and lawyer Sidney Powell, accused of making false statements about the election in Georgia and helping to organize a breach of voting equipment in rural Coffee County.
Powell was granted a $100,000 bond Wednesday morning ahead of her surrender.
She is facing charges of violating the state's RICO Act, conspiracy to commit computer invasion of privacy, conspiracy to defraud the state, conspiracy to commit computer trespass, conspiracy to commit computer theft and two counts of conspiracy to commit election fraud.
She worked on Trump's campaign after the 2020 election. Powell allegedly coordinated with SullivanStrickler, an Atlanta company, to obtain breached election data from Coffee County.
She allegedly tasked people with identifying Georgia residents who could serve as plaintiffs in suits contesting the state's election results.
Georgia was one of several key states Trump lost by slim margins, prompting the Republican and his allies to claim that the election was rigged in favor of his Democratic rival, Biden.
Giuliani is charged with making false statements and soliciting false testimony, conspiring to create phony paperwork and asking state lawmakers to violate their oath of office to appoint an alternate slate of pro-Trump electors.
Outside the Fulton County jail on Wednesday afternoon, Giuliani laughed when asked if he regretted allying himself with Trump.
"I am very, very honored to be involved in this case because this case is a fight for our way of life," Giuliani told reporters. "This indictment is a travesty. It's an attack on -- not just me, not just President Trump, not just the people in this indictment, some of whom I don't even know -- this is an attack on the American people."
After Giuliani's surrender, Trump repeated his unfounded claims that the election was rigged and stolen and wrote on his social media site, "The greatest Mayor in the history of New York City was just ARRESTED in Atlanta, Georgia, because he fought for Election Integrity."
Trump, the early front-runner in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, has said he plans to turn himself in at the Fulton County jail today. He and his allies have characterized the investigation as politically motivated and have heavily criticized Willis, a Democrat.
Trump is set to be released on a $200,000 bond that stipulates he can't intimidate witnesses or other defendants. Security around the jail is expected to be increased, with the sheriff's office announcing a "hard lockdown" around the Rice Street jail.
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark are both trying to have the case against them heard in federal court rather than in Fulton County Superior Court. Both argue the actions that gave rise to the charges in the indictment were related to their work as federal officials and that the case should be moved to federal court and the charges against them dismissed.
They had each asked a judge to allow them to avoid being arrested while those requests are pending. But U.S. District Judge Steve Jones on Wednesday rejected their requests to avoid having to be booked in jail while they fight to move the case to federal court.
Willis has set a deadline of noon on Friday for the people indicted last week in the election subversion case to turn themselves in. Her team has been negotiating bond amounts and conditions with the lawyers for the defendants before they surrender at the jail.
Misty Hampton, who was the Coffee County elections director when a breach of election equipment happened there, had her bond set at $10,000. David Shafer, who's a former Georgia Republican Party chair and served as one of 16 fake electors for Trump, and Cathy Latham, who's accused in the Coffee County breach and was also a fake elector, turned themselves in Wednesday morning. Also surrendering Wednesday were lawyers Ray Smith and Kenneth Chesebro, who prosecutors said helped organize the fake electors meeting at the state Capitol in December 2020.
Former Coffee County election supervisor Misty Hampton negotiated bond agreements with prosecutors Wednesday. Powell and Ellis were booked and released from the jail Wednesday afternoon.
Attorney John Eastman, who pushed a plan to keep Trump in power, and Scott Hall, a bail bondsman who was accused of participating in the breach of election equipment in Coffee County, turned themselves in Tuesday.
The Fulton County sheriff's office has said it will release booking photos around 4 p.m. each day, but Shafer appeared to post his on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, just after 7 a.m. Wednesday with the message, "Good morning! #NewProfilePicture."
Lawyers for Kenneth Chesebro on Wednesday filed a demand for a speedy trial. Typically, such a demand would mean that trial proceedings would need to get underway this fall, but this case has many defendants and multiple complicating factors, Georgia State University law school professor Anthony Michael Kreis said.
"State law, if requested by a defendant, sets a firm time limit in which to have a fair trial," said attorney Scott Grubman, who is defending Chesebro with attorney Manny Arora. "Mr. Chesebro has given his official notice that he intends to avail himself of that right. Mr. Chesebro maintains his innocence and remains confident as the legal process continues."
The aggressive filing from Chesebro, an attorney who worked with leadership of the Georgia GOP to coordinate a slate of "alternate" Republican electors, is bound to create a massive headache for Willis.
Under Georgia's speedy trial rules, Chesebro's case likely will have to be tried by the end of October, although there are other complicating factors. One is that there are three defendants moving to transfer the case out of Fulton County Superior Court to U.S. District Court in Atlanta, and a number of legal experts say if one defendant is removed then all 19 defendants are to be removed to federal court.
Atlanta attorney Andrew Fleischman said there is little court precedent examining how Georgia's speedy trial rule and the federal removal statute interact.
"There's no case law," said Fleischman, a former public defender now at Sessions & Fleischman. "It just sounds messy."
A spokeswoman for the DA declined to comment.
Outside attorneys say a speedy trial demand such as Chesebro's would apply to all 19 defendants, so if any of the other 18 defendants would rather have more time to prepare for trial -- Trump's attorneys are expected to ask that any case in Fulton County be delayed until after the 2024 election -- they will have to file motions to sever their cases from Chesebro's. Those motions would have to be decided by Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case.
The DA previously said she plans to try all 19 defendants together.
Fleischman said that Willis' racketeering case rests on proving that there were multiple defendants who were working in concert to advance the interests of a criminal enterprise. If individual defendants are able to sever their cases, the RICO charges become harder to prove. Not only that, Fleischman said, but prosecutors tend to be loath to show their case against one defendant before others because it gives defense attorneys extra time to find any weaknesses.
"The big disadvantage is that then you're putting your whole case on the record for the other people to pick apart," he said.
Chesebro stands charged with violating the state's racketeering act, conspiring to commit impersonating a public officer, conspiring to commit filing false document and two counts each of conspiring to commit forgery in the first degree and conspiring to commit false statements and writings.
While Republicans in Georgia and elsewhere are calling for Willis to be punished for indicting Trump, a group of Black pastors and community activists gathered outside the state Capitol in Atlanta Wednesday to pray for and proclaim their support for the Democratic prosecutor.
Bishop Reginald Jackson, who leads Georgia's African Methodist Episcopal churches, said that Willis is under attack "as a result of her courage and determination."
Information for this article was contributed by Kate Brumback, Jeff Amy and Michael R. Sisak of The Associated Press and by Bill Rankin, Tamar Hallerman, Jozsef Papp and Shaddi Abusaid of the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (TNS).