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Trump and all 18 co-defendants in Georgia election case meet surrender deadline

Former chief of staff Mark Meadows is charged alongside Donald Trump (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Former chief of staff Mark Meadows is charged alongside Donald Trump (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP) Former chief of staff Mark Meadows is charged alongside Donald Trump (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Former US president Donald Trump and the 18 people indicted along with him in Georgia on charges they participated in an illegal scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election have turned themselves in to a jail in Atlanta before the deadline.

After Mr Trump was booked on Thursday evening – scowling at the camera for the first ever mug shot of a former president – seven co-defendants who had not yet surrendered did so on Friday morning.

All but one of those charged had agreed to a bond amount and conditions with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis ahead of time, and they were free to go after booking.

Harrison Floyd mug shot
Harrison Floyd mug shot Harrison Floyd remains in prison (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Harrison William Prescott Floyd, who is accused of harassing a Fulton County election worker, did not negotiate a bond ahead of time and remained in the jail after turning himself in on Thursday.

Federal court records from Maryland show Floyd, identified as a former US marine who is active with the group Black Voices for Trump, was also arrested three months ago on a federal warrant that accuses him of aggressively confronting two FBI agents sent to serve him with a grand jury subpoena.

Next, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee is expected to set arraignments for each of the defendants in the coming weeks. That is when they would appear in court for the first time and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, though it is not uncommon for defendants in Georgia to waive arraignment.

The case filed under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act is sprawling, and the logistics of bringing it to trial are likely to be complicated. Legal manoeuvring by several of those charged has already begun.

Mark Meadows
Mark Meadows Former chief of staff Mark Meadows is charged alongside Donald Trump (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

At least five of them are trying to move their cases to federal court. Two are former federal officials – former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former US Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark. The other three – former Georgia Republican Party chairman David Shafer, Georgia state senator Shawn Still and Cathy Latham – are among the 16 Georgia Republicans who signed a certificate declaring falsely that Mr Trump had won the 2020 presidential election and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.

A judge is to hear arguments on Meadows’ request on Monday and on Clark’s on September 18. There has been speculation that Mr Trump will also try to move to federal court.

One defendant, lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, who prosecutors say worked on the co-ordination and execution of a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans sign a certificate declaring falsely that Mr Trump won and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors, has filed a demand for a speedy trial.

Kenneth Chesebro
Kenneth Chesebro Kenneth Chesebro has filed a demand for a speedy trial (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

That requires his trial start by the end of the next court term, in this case by early November. The day after he filed that request, Ms Willis – who has said she wants to try all 19 defendants together – proposed starting the trial for everyone on October 23. The judge issued an order on Thursday setting an October 23 trial for Chesebro alone.

Lawyer Sidney Powell, accused of making false statements about the election in Georgia and helping to organise a breach of voting equipment in rural Coffee County, also filed a speedy trial demand on Friday.

Mr Trump’s lawyer Steve Sadow has filed an objection to the proposed October trial date and a March date that Ms Willis had previously suggested. He asked that Mr Trump’s case be separated from Chesebro and any other codefendant who files a speedy trial demand.