Image c/o CNBC
By Jenevieve Monroe
According to Fulton County Jail Records, former president Donald J. Trump was booked late evening of August 24, 2023. The state of Georgia is suing the former president along with 18 co-defendants in their conspiracy to overturn the state’s results in the 2020 presidential election. The former president is facing a total of four indictments, with Georgia’s Superior Court of Fulton County charging thirteen felonies against Trump. In total, the former president and co-defendants face forty one counts by a Grand Jury in Georgia. In their surrender, the following charges include: Conspiracy To Commit False Statements and Writings (2 counts); Conspiracy To Commit Filing False Documents; Conspiracy To Commit Forgery in the First Degree (2 counts); Conspiracy To Commit Impersonating a Public Officer; False Statements and Writings (2 counts); Filing False Documents; Solicitation of Violation of Oath by Public Officer (3 counts); and Violation of the Georgia Rico (Racketeer Influenced And Corrupt Organizations) Act.
According to the legal indictment presented, over 161 Acts of racketeering and overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy are listed as evidence for the charges. Racketeering is the act of dishonest and fraudulent business dealings. This type of organized crime involves coercion, extortionary, or illegal schemes to make money. The majority of the Acts presented surrounding the case were focused on social media and phone call interactions with Trump, co-defendants, and fellow politicians. These allegations come following a leaked phone call between the former president and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In this phone call, the former president pressures Raffensperger to overturn the state of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election, to which Trump states, “they are removing machinery and they’re moving it as fast as they can, both of which are criminal finds. And you can’t let it happen and you are letting it happen… So look. All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state,” (New York Times). In the recording, Ryan Germany, the lawyer for Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office, repeatedly denied the removal of machinery and the shredding of ballots, yet the former president dismissed such claims. Raffensperger concluded the conversation by stating, “We have to stand by our numbers. We believe our numbers are right,” (New York Times).
Georgia’s indictment addresses several situations where Trump pressured conspiratorial actions like this in private. One example presented by the lawsuit involved a Fulton County election worker named Ruby Freeman. Freeman volunteered with her daughter, Shaye Moss, to serve Fulton County on election day. In the indictment, both the mother and daughter are victims. While serving their community, these two women were falsely accused to be seen in a surveillance video of workers demanding Republicans leave the ballot room while suitcases of illegal ballots were secretly added. Giuliani publicly targeted these women by name, stating that they were “passing around USB ports as if they are vials of heroin or cocaine”. The indictment also mentioned, “in furtherance of this scheme, members of the enterprise [the defendants] traveled from out of state to harass Freeman, intimidate her, and solicit her to falsely confess to election crimes that she did not commit,” (Fulton County Superior Court of Georgia). Stephen Cliffgard Lee was one of the co-defendants that harassed Freeman; not only did he visit her home on December 15, 2020, but Freeman had to call 911 on three different occasions because of his harassment. Trevian Kutti, former publicist for Ye and a co-defendant in this case, also reached out to Freeman at her home. Kutti threatened Freeman to comply with their election goals, implying that she had 48 hours before Freeman’s “freedom” and the freedom of one or more of her family members would be “disrupted” (Huffpost).
The president’s stay at Fulton County Jail was a little over 20 minutes long; however, Atlanta criminal defense attorney Erin King commented on how most people booked in Fulton County don’t get such a luxury (NPR). Trump’s 20 minute surrender took place in the same county jail where Lashawn Thompson, 35, died in custody last September due to a bedbug infested cell. King noted how most of the inmates in Fulton County Jail were booked, not convicted, and still awaiting trial (NPR). Trump was released on the same day, with a $200,000 bail to evade Fulton County jail. The bail listed six conditions he must comply with. The fourth order of the Consent Bond Order document states, “the Defendant shall perform no act to intimidate any person known to him or her to be a codependent or witness in this case or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” (Fulton County Superior Court of Georgia).
Trump has been called into question for violating previous Bail terms from his three additional cases in Washington, D.C., Florida, and New York. Following his Washington case in which Trump was also charged with election subversion, several prosecutors came forward to express concern regarding a social media post Trump made, stating, “If you go after me, I’m coming after you!” (Reuters). The media post was written in all caps on a site he co-owns, called Truth Social (Politico). Unlike his other indictments, the Georgia agreement is the first to explicitly restrict “posts on social media or reposts”.
Trump’s Georgia indictment sheds light on the personal toll his actions have taken on victims listed like Ruby Freeman, her daughter Shaye Moss, as well as elected state leadership like Brad Raffensperger. The former president’s brief stint in Fulton County Jail also highlights the wealth disparities within Georgia’s justice system and the overall complexity of this case.
Trump has pleaded not guilty of the crimes accused.
Trump's 4 indictments in detail: A quick-look guide to charges, trial dates and key players for each case - CBS News
Trump arrest full recap: Mugshot, surrender, what’s next in Georgia election case (cnbc.com)
INMATE SEARCH – FULTON COUNTY (fcsoga.org)
Trump and co-defendants in Georgia election case will be arraigned Sept. 6 (nbcnews.com)
Donald Trump's mug shot released following his Georgia surrender: live updates | NPR
Trump's bond in Georgia election case: No threats, no jail | Reuters
Highlights of Trump’s Call With the Georgia Secretary of State - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Read the full text of the Georgia Trump indictment document to learn more about the charges and co-conspirators - CBS News
Madison Sciba '24,