Trump is expected to turn himself in to a jail in Georgia today
AILSA CHANG, HOST:
Former President Trump has officially been booked in Georgia. He faces 13 felony charges from failed efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in that state. And on the tarmac at the Atlanta airport, Trump called these charges political persecution.
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DONALD TRUMP: What has taken place here is a travesty of justice. We did nothing wrong. I did nothing wrong.
CHANG: All right. Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler is outside Fulton County Jail in Atlanta right now. Hi, Stephen.
STEPHEN FOWLER, BYLINE: Hey there.
CHANG: Hey. OK, so catch us up. What do we know about the time that Trump spent inside this jail this evening?
FOWLER: Well, not very much, Ailsa - the media was barred from being in there. All we saw was a motorcade zooming in and, about 20 minutes later, the same motorcade zooming out. The Fulton County sheriff booking website did have Trump's information populated just before he arrived. And so that plus the brief time inside suggests that there was some sort of processing paperwork done ahead of time. Now, the height and weight stats in his booking appear to be self-reported since those things were posted ahead of time, and we are still waiting on confirmation of if an official booking photo took place and when that will be released.
CHANG: The so-called mugshot - OK, well, can we just step back, Stephen? I mean, this is a historic moment, a former U.S. president being booked inside a county jail. I mean, what has been the reaction to all of this, both from right outside that jail and, I don't know, in the larger political ecosystem?
FOWLER: Yeah. So I've been out here most of the day. It's been hot. It's been sweaty. It's fall and summer in Georgia. And there were protesters there, supporters of former President Trump, who think this is political persecution and a witch hunt weaponized like he mentioned on the tarmac. And that includes Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who showed up outside the jail and called for an investigation into the district attorney who brought these charges. That comes as Congressman Jim Jordan today sent a letter to District Attorney Fani Willis asking for some information and alleging she's colluding with federal prosecutors to attack Trump in a political manner. Now, Willis told WABE's Sam Gringlas earlier that she has no idea who special counsel Jack Smith is, who brought the federal charges, and there was no coordination between the two.
CHANG: All right. She doesn't know him personally, you mean? Well, can we just remind listeners why Trump was there in the first place? I mean, he already faces charges for trying to overturn the 2020 election at the federal level. But real quick, at the local level, can you walk us through this case?
FOWLER: Absolutely. So the long story short is Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis alleges Trump was at the center of this criminal enterprise conspiracy to overturn his election loss in Georgia. Now, unlike the federal charges filed last month, these state-level charges are different. One, they fall under an expansive racketeering law that wrapped up 18 other people involved. Two, it zeroes in on efforts to get state officials to illegally change the election results. And three, they can't be pardoned by Trump if he wins or anyone else other than a state-appointed Board of Pardons and Paroles and only after any sentence was served.
CHANG: Right. OK, so all 19 defendants are supposed to turn themselves in by tomorrow afternoon. Several of them already have. What should we expect next in this case?
FOWLER: Well, there's a bunch of complicated developments that have been coming nonstop. But here's a few we should know - for example, there's a federal court hearing Monday where former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows is seeking to have the case removed from federal court to - to state court to federal court, while another defendant wants a speedy trial for the DA. And now the DA says, OK, let's do things by October. Now, Trump has a new lawyer...
CHANG: All right.
FOWLER: ...Leading the case who's got experience in wrapping and racketeering.
CHANG: That is Georgia Public Broadcasting's Stephen Fowler. Thank you so much, Stephen.
FOWLER: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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