AUGUST 23, 2023
The former New York mayor and lawyer for Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday in order to surrender to face charges in the sprawling Georgia elections racketeering case, hours after prosecutors released mugshots of the first two defendants to be booked.
Giuliani was seen leaving his New York apartment building early on Wednesday and then later landing by plane in Georgia. “I am going to Fulton country to comply with the law,” he said. “If I plead today, I plead not guilty.”
He added that he would be photographed for a mugshot. “Isn’t that nice? A mugshot for the man who probably put the worst criminals of the 20th century in jail. They’re going to degrade themselves by doing a mugshot of me.”
His ironic tone nods to his track record for pioneering the modern use of racketeering laws when he was a federal prosecutor in New York in the 1980s and wielded so-called Rico laws against mafia bosses and their gangs.
Meanwhile, the Fulton county sheriff’s office released booking photos of the Atlanta bondsman Scott Hall and Trump campaign attorney John Eastman late on Tuesday evening after they had surrendered and were charged with conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia.
Giuliani was expected to be accompanied by former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who is an unindicted co-conspirator in the case. CNN reported on Wednesday morning that Kerik, identified as co-conspirator No5 in the case, has been assisting Giuliani to find a lawyer to represent him.
Tim Parlatore, a lawyer representing Kerik, told CNN that he was “not sure” if Giuliani had yet found himself a Georgia-based lawyer, while noting that it would be normal to be required to have one, as part of bond arrangements when turning oneself in to face charges.
In early 2020, Trump pardoned Kerik for crimes including tax fraud and lying to investigators, for which Kerik had been sentenced to four years in jail.
Later that year, Kerik worked with Giuliani on attempts to overturn Joe Biden’s victory, a push which culminated in the deadly January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol as supporters of Trump violently tried but failed to ensure that Congress would not certify Biden’s win.
Earlier on Wednesday, Cathy Latham, the former chair of the Coffee county Republican party, and former state GOP chairman David Shafer, who are accused of being part of the fake elector scheme in the state, surrendered and were booked at Fulton county jail.
And Kenneth Chesebro, the attorney who allegedly helped devise the fake elector scheme to subvert the 2020 presidential election, and Ray Smith, a Georgia lawyer who worked for Trump following the election, surrendered to Fulton county authorities on Wednesday, according to jail records.
Trump was understood to be planning to turn himself in on Thursday evening. In a statement on his Truth Social platform posted on Wednesday morning, the former US president and 2024 candidate said: “I will proudly be arrested tomorrow afternoon in Georgia” in relation to election fraud charges. It was not clear on Wednesday afternoon exactly what time he would begin traveling to Georgia and turn himself in at the jail. It is also unclear if he will also have his mugshot taken, an indignity he has avoided in his criminal cases so far.
Trump became a criminal defendant in a fourth case last week when a grand jury handed up a sprawling 41-count indictment that accused Trump and 18 co-defendants, including Giuliani, of engaging in a criminal enterprise and committing election fraud in trying to reverse his 2020 defeat by Joe Biden.
On Tuesday, after turning himself in and being released on a $100,000 bond, Eastman said he was “confident that when the law is faithfully applied in this proceeding, all of my co-defendants and I will be fully vindicated”.
Eastman is facing nine charges, including violation of the state’s Rico Act, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer and conspiracy to commit filing false documents.
Eastman added that he had no regrets about representing the president. When asked if he still thought the 2020 election was stolen, Eastman responded, “absolutely, no question in my mind”.
Hall was released on a $10,000 bond after being charged with violating the state’s Rico Act. He did not comment after being booked.
Following the bookings, the Fulton sheriff, Patrick Labat, said Trump and the co-defendants would be treated the same as other criminal defendants in the jurisdiction. “It doesn’t matter your status. We have a mugshot ready for you,” Labat said.
Separately, the Fulton county judge Scott McAfee has set bond for more than half of the 19 defendants charged in the case ahead of their surrender.
They include Trump, whose bond was set at $200,000; former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, set at $100,000; Stephen Lee, $75,000, and Georgia lawyer Robert Cheeley and Trump campaign official Michael Roman, at $50,000 each. McAfree also approved bonds for David Shafer and Shawn Still.
All defendants are also prohibited from communicating about the facts of the case with co-defendants, except through counsel, and their bond agreements include a provision that they “shall perform no act to intimidate any person known to him or her to be a co-defendant or witness in this case or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice”.