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Donald Trump, allies will be booked on charges at Georgia jail, not court, sheriff says

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump visits the Iowa State Fair, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Booking at the Fulton County jail would stand in contrast to his processing at courthouses on federal and New York criminal cases.

Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants in a Georgia racketeering case will be booked at the county jail − in contrast to the courthouse processing in his other three criminal cases − and could turn themselves in at any time, Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat’s office announced Tuesday.

Trump was indicted Monday on conspiracy and other charges for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election. His fellow defendants include lawyer Rudy Giuliani and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Labat’s office said in a statement bookings will happen at the Rice Street jail, although plans could change without notice. The jail is open 24 hours per day and the defendants could show up at any time, Labat said.

“At this point, based on guidance received from the district attorney’s office and presiding judge, it is expected that all 19 defendants named in the indictment will be booked at the Rice Street Jail,” the statement said.

But the sheriff added that arrangements are subject to change. “Due to the unprecedented nature of this case, some circumstances may change with little or no warning,” the statement said.

Trump’s team has not disclosed his plans for booking or arraignment, which are technically separate events.

Bookings are when defendants are officially processed, typically with fingerprints and mug shots. In Trump’s cases, authorities didn’t require mug shots – which are typically taken so that authorities have a current photo on hand to post publicly if a suspect becomes a fugitive – because the former president is so widely recognized. Trump was fingerprinted, however.

The initial processing is separate from the arraignment, when defendants enter a formal plea to the charges. Arraignments in the case might be handled online, the sheriff’s office statement said.

“In this case, some arraignments/appearances may be virtual as dictated by the presiding judge,” the statement said.

If handled virtually, the arraignment would stand in stark contrast with arraignments in Trump’s three other criminal cases. In New York, Florida and Washington, D.C., Trump was required to appear in person to plead not guilty after traveling with his Secret Service motorcade to the courthouses.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis had warned law enforcement authorities of possible civic unrest dealing with charges. Authorities braced for potential protests about the criminal charges by erecting barricades around the courthouse, but the announcement of the indictment Monday passed quietly.

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