More Trump co-defendants surrender in Fulton County case ahead of Friday deadline

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Several more defendants charged in Georgia for alleged efforts to reverse the outcome of the state’s 2020 election to keep former President Donald Trump in power have turned themselves in to authorities in Fulton County ahead of a Friday deadline to surrender voluntarily.

At least nine of the 19 people facing charges have now appeared at the Fulton County jail to be booked. All of those who surrendered were released on bond. None of the 19 have yet entered pleas, since the arraignment process is separate from the booking process in Georgia. Trump, who has denied all wrongdoing, said Monday night that he will turn himself in on Thursday and has agreed to a $200,000 bond.

A Fulton County grand jury returned a 41-count indictment last week accusing Trump and 18 others of participating in a “criminal enterprise” that aimed to reverse the former president’s electoral loss in Georgia. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is leading the investigation, gave those charged until noon Friday to surrender to authorities.

Who has surrendered in Fulton County?

Here’s who has turned themselves in so far, the number of charges they face and their bond amount:

  • Scott Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman, faces seven counts. He agreed to a $10,000 bond.
  • John Eastman, a conservative lawyer, is charged with nine counts. His bond was set at $100,000.
  • Cathy Latham, a Republican official, faces a total of 11 counts and her bond was set for $75,000. 
  • David Shafer, the former chairman of the Georgia GOP, is charged with eight counts. He agreed to a $75,000 bond.
  • Kenneth Chesebro, a conservative lawyer, is charged with seven counts and his bond was set for $100,000.
  • Ray Smith III, a lawyer for Trump’s reelection campaign, faces 12 charges. He agreed to a $50,000 bond.
  • Sidney Powell, a lawyer who was involved in planning Trump’s efforts to contest the election, faces seven charges. Her bond was set for $100,000.
  • Rudy Giuliani, former personal attorney to Trump, faces 13 charges. His bond has been set at $150,000.
  • Jenna Ellis, a lawyer who was affiliated with the Trump campaign, is charged with two counts and she agreed to a $100,000 bond.

Giuliani spoke with reporters Wednesday morning as he was leaving for Georgia. “I’ll get photographed, isn’t that nice? A mug shot, (of) the man who probably put the worst criminals of the 20th century in jail,” he said.

Eastman said in a statement Tuesday that he and his legal team plan to contest the charges and said he is confident he will be “fully vindicated.” 

“Each Defendant in this indictment, no less than any other American citizen, is entitled to rely upon the advice of counsel and the benefit of past legal precedent in challenging what former Vice President Pence described as, ‘serious allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law’ in the 2020 election,” he said. “The attempt to criminalize our rights to such redress with this indictment will have — and is already having — profound consequences for our system of justice.”

He told reporters shortly after being released from the Fulton County jail that he still believes the 2020 election was stolen.

The indictment claims Eastman played a key role in the alleged plot to send a fake slate of electors to Congress, which the indictment says was intended to “disrupt and delay the joint session of Congress” on Jan. 6, 2021, in order to alter the outcome of the 2020 election. The indictment claims Eastman sent an email suggesting “that the Trump presidential elector nominees in Georgia needed to meet on December 14, 2020, sign six sets of certificates of vote, and mail them ‘to the President of the Senate and to other officials.'”

Eastman also allegedly participated in an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 4, 2021, with Trump, then-Vice President Mike Pence, and two of Pence’s top aides. During the meeting, Trump and Eastman argued that the vice president could unilaterally reject electoral votes from some states or delay Congress’ counting of the votes on Jan. 6, 2021, to allow state legislatures to appoint electors in favor of Trump, according to the indictment.

Other defendants want their cases moved to federal court

Two other defendants, former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark and Shafer, are seeking to have their prosecutions moved from Fulton County Superior Court to federal district court in Atlanta. It was unclear what effect Shafer’s surrender will have on that effort.

In a filing with the U.S. district court on Monday, lawyers for Clark wrote that the allegations contained in the indictment relate to his work at the Justice Department and with the former president. Given his status at the time as a “federal officer,” Clark is entitled to have any case against him related to his tenure in the executive branch be resolved in a federal court, they said.

“The State’s assertions that Mr. Clark participated in a non-existent, multi-state criminal conspiracy are scurrilous,” Clark’s lawyers argued. They claimed his prosecution is a “naked attempt to destroy Clark” that will cost him millions of dollars in legal fees, harm his work in the conservative legal community and damage his reputation.

Clark also asked the federal court to temporarily pause the proceedings in Fulton County so he would “not need to be put the choice of making rushed travel arrangements to fly into Atlanta or instead risking being labeled a fugitive.” U.S. District Judge Steve Jones denied the request Wednesday.

The indictment returned in Fulton County charges Clark with two counts and claims an email he sent to then-Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen seeking to send “false” information to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was a “substantial step” in the racketeering case. 

In a separate filing to the U.S. district court, Shafer said the indictment charges him with conduct that stems from his role as a Republican nominee as a presidential elector acting under the authority of the Constitution and federal law.

“The Supremacy Clause plainly bars the State’s attempt here to criminalize the actions of persons acting pursuant to federal authority to achieve the purposes of the national government,” Shafer’s lawyers argued. “Neither the State of Georgia nor any of its localities has the authority to prosecute Mr. Shafer for these actions, and this Court should exercise its clear authority to correct this injustice and halt this unlawful and unconstitutional attempted prosecution now.”

Their surrenders came as Mark Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, is also seeking to have his prosecution moved to federal court because the conduct alleged in the indictment involved his work as a federal employee. Meadows’ attorneys also asked the district court in a filing Tuesday to prevent Willis from arresting Meadows, though his request was denied by Jones.

“[T]he clear statutory language for removing a criminal prosecution, does not support an injunction or temporary stay prohibiting District Attorney Willis’s enforcement or execution of the arrest warrant against Meadows,” the judge wrote in an order Wednesday.

Graham Kates, Nikole Killion, Jared Eggleston and Brian Dakss contributed to this report.

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