Donald Trump to surrender in Atlanta in fourth criminal case brought against ex-president this year

CNN/ Newswire | 8/24/2023, 3:24 p.m.
Donald Trump will surrender Thursday evening to be booked on more than a dozen charges stemming from his efforts to …
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally, July 7, 2023, in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Mandatory Credit: Charlie Riedel/AP

Originally Published: 24 AUG 23 05:00 ET

Updated: 24 AUG 23 15:54 ET

By Jeremy Herb, Devan Cole and Tierney Sneed, CNN

(CNN) — Donald Trump will surrender Thursday evening to be booked on more than a dozen charges stemming from his efforts to reverse Georgia’s 2020 election results, the fourth time this year the former president has faced criminal charges.

Trump has departed from his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club to Atlanta to turn himself in at the notorious Fulton County jail.

Like most of his 18 co-defendants in the sprawling racketeering case who have already surrendered at the jail, Trump’s processing through the facility will likely be completed quickly because the former president and his lawyers have already negotiated his consent bond agreement. Trump agreed to a $200,000 bond and other release conditions, including not using social media to target the co-defendants and witnesses in the case.

Trump’s surrender in Georgia marks the fourth time this year the former president has turned himself in to local or federal officials after criminal charges were brought against him – episodes that had never been seen in the US before 2023.

In April, the former president was booked in New York on state charges related to a hush money scheme. In June, he surrendered at a Miami federal courthouse to face charges in special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into the mishandling of classified documents. And earlier this month, Trump was placed under arrest in Washington, DC, and arraigned on charges brought by Smith in his investigation into attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

All of those cases could come to a head next year at the same time that Trump is running for president.

Replaces Georgia lawyer

Ahead of his surrender, Trump replaced his top Georgia lawyer, Drew Findling, with Steven Sadow, an Atlanta-based attorney whose website profile describes him as a “special counsel for white collar and high-profile defense.”

A Trump source indicated that this was not about Findling’s performance, while another source who is familiar with Sadow called him the “best criminal defense attorney in Georgia.”

District Attorney asks for October 23 trial date

On Thursday, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis requested an October 23 trial date in the election subversion case she’s brought against Trump and 18 of his allies.

While it’s too soon to say whether that date is possible – or even plausible – if it happened it would be the first of Trump’s four criminal trials.

Trump’s lawyers told the judge in Georgia on Thursday that they oppose Willis’ proposed trial date. They also will attempt to separate his Georgia case from co-defendant Ken Chesebro, who is trying to speed up the proceedings and whose request spurred Willis’ suggested trial date.

Willis’ proposed timeline would put the proceedings on hyper-speed. She told reporters last week when the indictment was returned that she would seek a trial that would begin within six months.

Legal experts at the time said that timeline was not plausible, especially as Willis has also indicated she’d like to try the 19 defendants all together. Lawyers for Trump and his co-defendants have previewed the likelihood of pre-trial disputes that will drag the proceedings out. Already three defendants are seeking to move the case to federal court, and the former president is expected to launch a similar bid of his own.

Another sprawling anti-racketeering case brought by Willis suggests that such a timeline is unrealistic. The case, alleging that Jeffrey Williams, the rapper Young Thug, and several of his associates violated Georgia’s RICO law – the key charge in the Trump case – has moved slowly to trial, despite a move by Williams to assert his right to speedy trial.

Willis has asked for the 19 defendants to be arraigned next month.

Former WH chief of staff and DOJ official surrender

Two of the defendants, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, had their bids to block their pending arrests rejected by a federal court on Wednesday.

Both Meadows and Clark reached $100,000 bond agreements with prosecutors on Thursday. Meadows surrendered and was released on bond.

Also on Thursday, Trevian Kutti, who was charged in the Georgia case in connection with the intimidation of an Atlanta election worker, reached a $75,000 bond agreement with prosecutors ahead of her surrender.

The other terms of the deal say she cannot “intimidate any person known to her to be a co-defendant or witness” in the case, which is particularly relevant, given her charges. She is also banned from posting on social media about the case, including but not limited to posts on Instagram.

Harrison Floyd, a leader of the organization Black Voices for Trump, also surrendered to the Fulton County jail, according to jail records.

Raffensperger subpoenaed for major hearing Monday

Meadows has a hearing Monday on his attempt to move the Fulton County prosecution against him to federal court that’s shaping up to be a major test for Willis.

On Thursday, the Fulton County district attorney’s office subpoenaed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Frances Watson, who served as chief investigator for the secretary of state during the 2020 election, to testify.

The subpoena is one of several indications that Fulton County prosecutors plan to make Trump’s January 2021 call – in which Trump urged Raffensperger to “find” the votes that would reverse his electoral loss in the state – a focus of a Monday morning court hearing on Meadows’ efforts to get the district attorney’s charges thrown out.

Meadows was on the call and now faces charges in the Georgia election subversion case, in part, because of his participation in it.

Trump charged with 13 counts in Georgia

Trump falsely claimed victory after the 2020 election, and then tried to overturn the results in Georgia and other states.

In a series of phone calls, he pressured Georgia election officials to help his efforts, including Raffensperger. The former president’s campaign filed meritless lawsuits that tried to nullify the results in Georgia and tried to convince state legislators there to toss Joe Biden’s legitimate electoral votes and replace them with GOP electors.

In the indictment handed up last week, Willis charged Trump with 13 counts, including racketeering, conspiracy charges and soliciting a public official to violate their oath of office.

The racketeering charge in the Georgia case, which Willis brought against all 19 defendants, accuses them of being part of a broad “criminal enterprise” that attempted to overturn the 2020 election result in the Peach State.

When that plan didn’t work, his campaign tried to put forward a slate of fake, pro-Trump electors. And Trump pressured then-Vice President Mike Pence to recognize those illegitimate GOP electors while presiding over the Electoral College certification in Congress on January 6, 2021.

This story has been updated with additional developments.