Atlanta officials have insisted Donald Trump won’t be treated any different than a regular defendant as his criminal case works its way through the Fulton County court system—promising he’ll have a mugshot taken and a potential trial televised.
That’s a stark contrast to Trump’s initial trio of indictments, where he’s evaded having a booking photo taken and had his hearings thus far take place largely behind closed doors in states or districts that ban live-streaming inside the courtroom.
“Unless somebody tells me differently, we are following our normal practices, and so it doesn’t matter your status, we’ll have a mugshot ready for you,” Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat said recently.
The first-ever presidential mugshot may not come straight away, however, as officials have given Trump until noon on Aug. 25 to voluntarily surrender to authorities in Georgia, where he and 18 others were indicted Monday night on a slew of charges, including racketeering.
If local law enforcement maintains the stance that Trump’s arrest will be like any other, the sheriff’s website says Trump will be taken to the county’s main jail on Rice Street, just northwest of downtown Atlanta. The jail is just outside of Bankhead, a neighborhood famous for its hip-hop lore that’s also home to the Trap Music Museum.
Once at the jail, the sheriff’s website says suspects typically undergo medical screening, fingerprinting, and are checked for any outstanding warrants before they have their booking photo taken. Next, they await being seen by a judge.
“All arrestees who do not bond out of jail will routinely appear before a judge within 24 hours after arrest,” the website states. “If arrested on Saturday or Sunday, they will see the judge on Monday.”
Labat isn’t the only Fulton County official to insist Trump will be treated like everyone else. Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney allowed cameras to record Trump’s indictment on Monday, and he indicated that policy will likely be the norm throughout Trump’s proceedings.
Josh Schiffer, an Atlanta attorney, told Atlanta News First that cameras are always permitted in Georgia courtrooms unless a judge decides the identities of those involved need to be protected—as in a sexual assault trial or cases with juvenile witnesses.
“Georgia courts traditionally have allowed the media and the public in so that everyone can scrutinize how our process actually works,” he said.
Trump indicated Tuesday morning that he doesn’t plan on surrendering in Atlanta straight away, posting to Truth Social that he’ll host a “major news conference” on Monday in Bedminster, New Jersey.
“Based on the results of this conclusive report, all charges should be dropped against me & others—there will be a complete exoneration!” he huffed.
Trump has been fingerprinted in each of his previous three indictments in New York state court, Florida federal court, and D.C. federal court. However, he was not handcuffed, and officials in each case reportedly opted to upload existing photos of Trump to their booking systems rather than take a mugshot. Labat did not say whether his officers will cuff Trump as they take him into custody.
The only criminal hearing to feature photos of Trump inside a courtroom was in Manhattan, where still photography was permitted as the former president was arraigned in April. Trump’s other two indictments were in federal courts, where still photography, video recordings, and even the possession of cell phones in the courtroom are strictly banned.
Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who Trump has decried as a racist out to get him, indicted Trump late Monday night along with more than a dozen of his pals who are accused of working together to overturn 2020 election results in the state.
Among those indicted alongside Trump are his former lawyers Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, and Sidney Powell, as well as his former chief of staff Mark Meadows.
The sweeping charges stem from a long-running criminal probe launched by Willis after Trump and his allies allegedly fought—both publicly and behind closed doors—to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia, which was a shock result at the time.