A parade of co-defendants for Donald Trump bailing and surrendering at an Atlanta jail is treading a path of responsibility that will follow the ex-president and key figure of alleged election meddling on Thursday in one of the most shocking days in history. presidential history.
But Trump’s new attacks on prosecutors and legal maneuvers by some of his ex-aides underline their belief that the law can be defied and that there should be no consequences for undermining democracy — the same attitude that Trump’s false claims of victory in 2020 have fueled. and still guiding his actions as he strives for a return to the White House. This is especially concerning because, despite his decision to skip Wednesday’s first primary debate, Trump has a strong chance of becoming the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nominee.
Again — as with Trump’s consolidation of much of the Republican primary through his claims that he is the victim of a political witch hunt — his potential criminal liability could ultimately help him politically. That’s because his scheduled arrest on Thursday is likely to overshadow any of his rivals who made a splash in the debate the night before.
And yet Tuesday’s wave of activity in Fulton County, Georgia, showed that more than two years after Trump’s attempt to defy the will of voters, the wheels of justice are turning ahead and the consequences could be imminent.
News of bond deals attracted attention, with the first of the former president’s 18 co-defendants turning himself in for police photos and fingerprints. Most of the 19 defendants have agreed to release terms, led by the ex-president’s $200,000 bond deal signed Monday — the first requirement in his staggering list of four criminal charges. Among those who signed bond deals on Tuesday was Jenna Ellis, the attorney who exposed Trump’s election lies but now says she was let down by the ex-president with her massive legal fees.
Attorney John Eastman, who devised a six-step plan for then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, was one of the first two defendants to surrender in prison. Eastman later defiantly claimed that the country had overstepped a “Rubicon” in the Georgia case, stating that he still believed the election was stolen — despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Booking photos of Eastman and bail bondsman Scott Hall, who surrendered first, were released later Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the intrigue surrounding Mark Meadows intensified as the former White House chief of staff made an unusual effort to avoid his impending arrest as he attempts to send his case to federal court, where he believes it will be dismissed.
And Rudy Giuliani, the hero of September 11, will meet with the Fulton County district attorney’s office on Wednesday to discuss a bond deal, sources told CNN. He is expected to travel to Georgia with former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik — an unindicted co-conspirator in the case — who has worked with the former mayor to help him find a Georgia lawyer, according to a of those sources. Giuliani, who has struggled to find legal representation as he grapples with the huge legal costs of his other escapades with Trump, is expected to have a Georgia-licensed attorney to represent him during the bond negotiations, a second source said.
But the dramatic events in Fulton County so far have simply been a prelude to the theatrical performances expected to unfold at the jail on Thursday, when Trump, who has a significant lead in the Republican Party primary, says he will surrender under his fourth criminal charge. He decided to skip the debate on Wednesday, but his anticipated trip to Georgia is a reminder that for all his dominance over his party’s race in the White House, he has lost complete control of his planning and destiny due to his many legal complications.
The campaign and the courtroom’s competing demands on his time will only get tougher next year, when the primaries begin and Trump is expected to spend days and weeks attending his criminal trials. In addition to the Fulton County case, he has been charged in two federal cases — one for attempting to steal the 2020 election and the other for mishandling classified documents — and in Manhattan in a case involving the payment of hush money to a movie for adults. star in 2016.
As a reminder that this week’s surrender isn’t the only legal issue facing Trump, federal prosecutors on Tuesday provided a clearer picture of how they obtained information in a substitute indictment in the classified documents case. In a lawsuit, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s prosecutors shed light on their investigation into whether two Trump employees at Mar-a-Lago gave false testimony to a grand jury about alleged attempts to remove incriminating security footage. One of the employees, IT specialist Yuscil Taveras, who has not yet been charged, recently switched lawyers and changed his story about alleged attempts by Trump and other subordinates to remove security footage, the filing said.
The filing highlighted the deep legal fragility surrounding Trump. But even if the spectacle of a former president and current presidential candidate being indicted and arrested becomes routine, it will never become normal. The fraught legal melodrama that surrounds him leads the country down an increasingly dangerous path ahead of next year’s election, at a time of deep national political anguish.
What the Fulton County theater makers say about the case
The events unfolding at the Fulton County Jail this week are significant as they shed light on the contours and complexities of the Georgia case. And while each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and has the right to use all available resources within the law to plead his case, Trump’s current and former aides still appear to be acting on anti-democratic impulses and disregard for liability.
Accelerating developments at the Fulton County jail and courthouse also provide a reality check not only on the consequences that may await those allegedly aiding Trump’s bid to stay in power, but also on the enormity of the case, parts of which are subject to complex racketeering laws often used against organized crime gangs.
Most directly, the stunning events in Atlanta also overshadow the Republican debate that will take place without Trump. The ex-president’s legal troubles have led most of his major rivals, albeit distant ones, to struggle to find a way to exploit his potential commitments as a possible candidate while trying to prevent his supporters and other Republicans alienate him, who may be open to another candidate, but are still sympathetic to Trump.
The ex-president confirmed Monday night that he will appear in Atlanta on Thursday for a booking, meaning the media buzz his rivals can benefit from vigorous debate is likely to be short-lived.
The curious case of Mark Meadows takes a different turn
Another conclusion to a hectic day of legal activity in Fulton County came from two former Trump administration officials asking a federal court to block their impending arrests in Georgia.
For example, Meadows wants a federal court to issue an order that would prevent the prosecutor from seeking his arrest if he doesn’t surrender in jail before Friday’s deadline. The former chief of staff’s gamble is a preview of the massive amount of litigation that will emerge from a case involving 19 co-defendants. Many experts think this will defy the hopes of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to bring it to trial sooner. year election.
Meadows has filed a petition to present his case in federal court because he said he was fulfilling his duties as a federal official at the time of the alleged violations. The case will revolve around whether the actions of the then-Oval Office gatekeeper really fell within the purview of a top government official — since states are constitutionally mandated to hold elections and count the results without federal interference. Meadows sided with Trump at the height of the ex-president’s efforts to reverse the 2020 election result. For example, he was present when Trump pressured Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, to “find” enough votes to change the outcome to the swing state. He also visited the site of a post-election audit in Cobb County, Georgia.
In response to Meadows’ action, the Fulton County District Attorney has issued subpoenas to two attorneys who listened to Raffensperger’s call, asking them to appear Monday at a federal hearing related to Meadows’ bid to close his case. transferred to the federal system. . The Georgia Grand Jury indictment alleges that Meadows, along with Trump, unlawfully requested the violation of oath by a government official with the call. The call was also listed as an overt act in the racketeering conspiracy charge.
Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark has also asked a federal judge to keep him from being arrested by local authorities, arguing that his status as a federal official at the time he engaged in the alleged conduct the dismissal of the charges against him.
One of the conditions of the ex-president’s bond was that he would not attack witnesses in the case, including on social media. But that didn’t stop him from targeting Willis Monday night — at a time of escalating tensions in which death threats have been sent to some of the sheriff’s office staff.
Trump speculated on his Truth Social network that Willis thought he would be a flight risk and could end up in a “gold suite” with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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