Former President Donald Trump called the Georgia charges against him a “travesty of justice” and “election interference” after getting his mug shot taken Thursday evening at an Atlanta-area jail, where he and allies face charges of conspiracy in trying to change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Trump’s plane landed in the Atlanta area after 7 p.m. and his motorcade arrived at the Fulton County Jail for processing after 7:30 p.m. Trump was fingerprinted, got a scowling mug shot, and paid a $200,000 bond. The 45th president and the motorcade left the jail before 8 p.m.
They are charged under Georgia’s Racketeering-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as RICO. The 98-page indictment says Trump and the 18 others “knowingly and willfully joined a conspiracy to unlawfully change the outcome of the election in favor of Donald Trump.”
Trump spoke briefly to the media before reboarding his plane.
“You should be able to challenge an election. I thought the election was a rigged election, a stolen election, and I should have every right to do that,” he said, adding:
As you know, you have many people you’ve watched over the years do the same thing, whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Stacey Abrams, and many others. When you have that freedom to challenge, you have to be able to, otherwise, you are going to have very dishonest elections.
Trump called the Georgia case and the other cases brought against him elsewhere “a travesty of justice.”
“We did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong. Everybody knows it,” Trump said of the various prosecutions. “ … That goes for the other ones, too. What they are doing is election interference. There has never been anything like it in our country before. This is their way of campaigning.”
Among the alleged co-conspirators are former Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis, former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as well as former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark.
Willis requested the court date for all 19 defendants to be Oct. 23. But the trial date will be set by a judge after arguments by the prosecution and defendant.
Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, doesn’t have the power to grant a pardon to Trump under the Peach State’s law. Rather, an appointed board considers and approves pardons.
Earlier this month, special counsel Jack Smith secured a federal grand jury indictment in the District of Columbia against Trump similarly charging him with conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election.
In June, Smith secured a separate federal grand jury indictment against Trump relating to his possession of classified documents at his private home in Florida after leaving office.
Before the arraignment Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Willis seeking information about what coordination she had with the U.S. Department of Justice in bringing the charges.
Among the topics Jordan requested from the Fulton County office: “All documents and communications between or among the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and DOJ and its components, including but not limited to the Office of Special Counsel Jack Smith, referring or relating to your office’s investigation of President Donald Trump or any of the other eighteen individuals against whom charges were brought in the indictment discussed above.”
In April, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg secured a New York state grand jury indictment against Trump for allegedly filing false business and campaign-finance forms in connection with allegedly covering up an affair with former porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied the affair.
Trump also pleaded not guilty to the federal and New York charges.
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