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The latest Georgia election probe news
- Former President Donald Trump said he will turn himself in to authorities in Fulton County for arrest Thursday on charges stemming from the district attorney's probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
- Lawyer John Eastman, who is charged with orchestrating the so-called fake electors scheme designed to keep Trump in office, surrendered to authorities today.
- Scott Hall, a bail bondsman facing charges over a voting system breach in Georgia's Coffee County in early 2021, was the first of the 19 defendants to surrender.
- The Fulton County Sheriff's Office released mug shots of Eastman and Hall tonight.
- Former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani plans to travel to Atlanta tomorrow as he seeks local counsel to represent him.
John Eastman mug shot released by Fulton County Sheriff's Office
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office released Eastman's mug shot tonight after he surrendered earlier today.
Fulton County Sheriff's Office releases Scott Hall's mug shot
The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office released a mug shot of defendant Scott Hall tonight after the bail bondsman surrendered earlier today.
Giuliani plans to travel to Atlanta tomorrow
Giuliani is planning to travel to Atlanta tomorrow, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Giuliani has been seeking local counsel to assist him with the Georgia case. He has reached out to associates like Tim Parlatore and Bernie Kerik for assistance in finding an Atlanta-based lawyer.
In addition, Giuliani spokesman Ted Goodman said that there is no set surrender plan, as Giuliani is still finalizing his representation plans — and that conversations are still ongoing.
Here's who has surrendered in the Georgia election case
As of 9:45 p.m. ET, just two of the 19 defendants in the Fulton County case had surrendered ahead of Friday's noon deadline.
Scott Hall, a bail bondsman facing charges tied to a voting system breach in Coffee County in early 2021, was the first to surrender this morning. He was followed by Trump-allied lawyer John Eastman.
The following 17 defendants have yet to surrender: Robert Cheeley, Kenneth Chesebro, Jeffrey Clark, Jenna Ellis, Harrison Floyd, Rudy Giuliani, Misty Hampton, Trevian Kutti, Cathy Latham, Stephen Lee, Mark Meadows, Sidney Powell, Michael Roman, David Shafer, Ray Smith, Shawn Still and Trump.
The former president has said he will surrender Thursday.
What happens if Trump violates his Fulton County bond conditions?
After Trump surrenders to Fulton County authorities Thursday, he will be released from custody in Georgia under an already agreed-upon set of conditions, including a $200,000 bond.
As part of the conditions, Trump will be prohibited from doing anything a judge could interpret as an effort to intimidate co-defendants or witnesses or “otherwise obstruct the administration of justice.”
More specifically, Trump “shall make no direct or indirect threat of any nature” against any co-defendant, witness or victim, the community or property in the community.
“The above shall include, but are not limited to, posts on social media or reposts of posts made by another individual on social media,” reads the bond order, entered yesterday by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.
Key witness in Trump docs case changed testimony after switching lawyers, special counsel says
A key witness against Trump and his two co-defendants in the Mar-a-Lago documents case recanted previous false testimony and provided new information implicating the defendants after they switched lawyers, special counsel Jack Smith’s office said in a new court filing.
Yuscil Taveras, the director of information technology at Mar-a-Lago, changed his testimony last month about efforts to delete security camera video at Trump’s Florida club after he changed from a lawyer paid for by Trump’s Save America PAC to a public defender, the filing says.
The revised testimony led to last month’s superseding indictment against Trump and his two co-defendants.
Taveras decided to change lawyers after he learned he was being investigated on suspicion of making false statements during his previous grand jury testimony in Washington, D.C., today's filing said.
Robert Cheeley and Stephen Lee agree to $50K and $75K bonds, respectively
Co-defendants Robert Cheeley and Stephen Lee today obtained consent orders for $50,000 and $75,000, respectively.
Cheeley, who faces 10 counts, is the only defendant in the Fulton County indictment charged with perjury tied to his grand jury testimony on Sept. 15 about the so-called fake electors.
Cheeley allegedly sent an email to Trump lawyer John Eastman, Georgia state Sen. Brandon Beach and an unindicted co-conspirator, telling them that he was trying to set up a call with then-Georgia House Speaker David Ralston and Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller. In another email, he allegedly told an unindicted co-conspirator that was setting up the call to urge Ralston and Miller to call a special session of the General Assembly and that Eastman told him it was "critical" for Trump's electors to meet and vote on Dec. 14, 2020.
Lee, who faces five counts, is accused of trying to influence a witness after allegedly traveling to Fulton County election worker Ruby Freeman’s home weeks after the 2020 election in what prosecutors called a “substantial step” to influence her testimony about events surrounding the State Farm Arena election site on Election Day.
Judge orders Willis to respond to Meadows' stay request by tomorrow afternoon
A federal judge in Georgia ordered Willis to respond to Meadows' request for an emergency stay of her arrest warrant by 3 p.m. ET tomorrow.
Meadows argues that his case should be delayed until at least Monday, when U.S. District Judge Steve Jones has scheduled a hearing on Meadows' argument that his case should be heard in federal court instead of a state venue because he was the White House chief of staff at the time of his alleged wrongdoing.
Willis has given all 19 defendants until noon Friday to surrender voluntarily, and she has rejected Meadows' request for a delay until after Monday's hearing. In a separate order, Jones banned phones and other recording devices in the federal courthouse on the day of the Meadows hearing.
Jones is also hearing former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark's petition to move his case to federal court. Clark has asked for an emergency stay, and Jones ordered Willis to respond to the motion by 3 p.m. tomorrow, as well.
Willis tells Meadows' lawyer she won't allow 'extensions' for surrender deadline
Willis told an attorney for Meadows that she won't grant any "extensions" to her Friday noon deadline for voluntary surrenders.
“I am not granting any extensions,” Willis wrote in an email to John S. Moran this morning, according to a new court filing. “Your client is no different than any other criminal defendant in this jurisdiction.”
Moran attached Willis' email to a request for an immediate ruling to his client's effort to move the case to federal court. Meadows had asked Willis to delay his voluntary surrender until a hearing about the matter Monday.
Willis announced last week that Trump and his 18 co-defendants would have until noon Friday to voluntarily surrender.
"The two weeks was a tremendous courtesy," Willis wrote in her email to Meadows' attorney. "At 12:30 pm on Friday I shall file warrants in the system. My team has availability to meet to discuss reasonable consent bonds Wednesday and Thursday."
Meadows asks federal judge for immediate ruling to block arrest
In court papers filed in federal court for the Northern District of Georgia on Tuesday, Meadows asked a judge for an immediate ruling on his effort to move his Fulton County case to federal court or an order that would prevent Willis from arresting him.
“Granting removal immediately and notifying the state court is the most efficient way to effectuate relief,” Meadows' attorney, John S. Moran, wrote. “Alternatively, the Court can effectuate relief by issuing an order to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis — who is a party to the matter before the Court — prohibiting her from arresting or causing the arrest of Mr. Meadows before the Monday hearing.”
Moran said in the 19-page filing that Willis' office on Monday "informed counsel of their firm terms for a consent bond and made clear that Mr. Meadows would be arrested" if he did not voluntarily surrender by Willis' deadline of noon Friday.
According to the filing, Willis' office refused a request from Meadows' counsel to defer his arrest by one business day until after a scheduled hearing.
Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, two others agree to bond orders
Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis, former White House official Mike Roman and former Coffee County GOP Chair Cathy Latham have all agreed to bond deals with the Fulton County DA's office, court records show.
Ellis, who was often affixed to Giuliani's side at post-election state hearings touting bogus election fraud claims, agreed to a $100,000 bond, court filings show. She's charged with racketeering and "solicitation of violation of oath by Public Officer."
Roman, who worked for Trump's 2016 and 2020 campaigns, is charged with racketeering and criminal conspiracy for allegedly helping to organize "alternate electors" to cast votes for Trump. His bond was set at $50,000.
Bond was set at $75,000 for Latham, a Trump "elector" who's charged with racketeering, conspiracy, forgery, false statements and impersonating a public officer. Prosecutors say she took part in a scheme to illegally access voting machines in Coffee County.
‘A fallen hero’: Rudy Giuliani faces the music
Rudy Giuliani was down in the dumps.
It was January 2008, and the former New York City mayor had flamed out of the Republican presidential primaries in spectacular fashion. He had longed to be the first Italian American president of the United States. Now what?
“In the wake of that crash and burn, Giuliani started to drink and went into a depression,” said Andrew Kirtzman, a longtime New York City journalist who has written two biographies of Giuliani.
An unlikely figure stepped up to help: Donald Trump. The real estate mogul allowed Giuliani and his third wife, Judith, to stay at a cottage at Mar-a-Lago where he was able to recuperate away from the prying eyes of the media.
Fifteen years later, Giuliani has been charged with engaging in a conspiracy to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election on behalf of Trump.
The indictment handed up by a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, marks the most dramatic turn in the long relationship between the two quintessentially New York figures. For Giuliani, the charges also represent a new low in the career arc of a man who was once one of the most admired people on the planet.
Majority of likely Iowa GOP caucusgoers believe Trump won the 2020 election
More than half of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers say they believe Trump’s claims that he won the 2020 presidential election, despite no evidence of widespread election fraud, a new poll from NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom shows.
Fifty-one percent of respondents say they believe Trump, while 41% say they don’t, and 8% aren’t sure. The poll includes both Republican and independent voters who say they’re likely to participate in the caucus.
Majorities of self-identified Republicans (60%), those making less than $70,000 a year (69%), evangelicals (62%) and those without college degrees (59%) all believe Trump’s election claims. Out of those who say Trump is their first-choice candidate, 83% say they believe he won the 2020 election.
Analysis: Clark's bid to block arrest unlikely to succeed
In a new filing, former Justice Department lawyer Jeffrey Clark argues not only that Willis’ indictment of him must proceed in federal court but also that under federal law, her case must be stayed immediately, preventing her from even booking or arraigning him.
But Clark’s request that a federal court block his arrest hinges on his including the long-finished special grand jury proceedings Willis convened last year as part of her investigation.
Without including that case, which Clark characterizes as a civil matter, he has no basis in federal statutory law to demand a stay. On the contrary, federal law is clear that even when a defendant like Clark files a notice to remove a state criminal case to federal court, that doesn't stop the local prosecutor from continuing until a decision is made.
That’s why, for example, when former President Donald Trump attempted to remove Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s hush money indictment to federal court, that case was not paused as the removal motion was considered and then rejected by a federal judge last month.
Unless and until Clark can convince a court that Willis’ case against him is a hybrid civil-criminal case, there is no justification for pausing his arrest in Fulton County. And while it’s a creative argument, it is unlikely to succeed — or rescue Clark from the same procedures facing his 18 other co-defendants, up to and including Trump himself.
Eastman says he 'absolutely' still believes the election was stolen
After reading his written statement outside of the Fulton County Jail, Eastman took questions, despite his attorney attempting to steer him away from the press several times.
Asked by NBC News if he still believes the 2020 election was stolen, Eastman said: “Absolutely, no question in my mind.”
Eastman said he was paying his own legal fees when pressed on the matter. He then declined comment when asked whether he will claim immunity from prosecution and if he thought others, such as former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, had grounds for such attempts.
Eastman’s processing inside the Fulton County Jail was quick — just over 90 minutes. He declined to comment on whether he was fingerprinted and if he took a mugshot. His attorney, however, told NBC News that his client’s processing was everything an everyday Georgian goes through when they get arrested.
Bonds are set for state senator and another so-called fake elector
David Shafer and Georgia state Sen. Shawn Still, who are facing charges stemming from the so-called fake electors scheme in Georgia, have arranged their bond through consent orders worked out with the district attorney’s office.
Shafer’s bond is set at $75,000 and Still’s is set at $10,000.
The bond agreements are a sign that their surrender to authorities is likely forthcoming.
Eastman has been booked into the Fulton County Jail
Records for the Fulton County Jail show Eastman has been booked.
John Eastman surrenders
John Eastman, the lawyer charged with orchestrating the so-called fake electors scheme designed to keep Donald Trump in office after his election loss, said in a statement that he was surrendering to authorities in Georgia today over "an indictment that should never have been brought.”
In his statement, Eastman asserted that the indictment targets attorneys for “zealous advocacy on behalf of their clients” and that his legal team will “vigorously contest” each of his indictment counts.
“I am confident that, when the law is faithfully applied in this proceeding, all of my co-defendants and I will be fully vindicated,” his statement said.
His attorney, Harvey Silverglate, has said Eastman didn’t do anything wrong, and had merely provided legal advice and guidance to Trump when he was president.
The indictment brought by Willis last week portrays Eastman as a key figure in the bid to subvert 2020 election results. It alleges that Eastman advocated for a scheme to have “alternate” presidential electors cast votes for Trump in Georgia and other states won by Joe Biden in case the former president was successful in any of his legal challenges there.
Prosecutors allege that after Trump lost those court challenges, Eastman became part of a pressure campaign designed to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to either declare the fake electors the proper ones or refuse to count the electoral votes from those states.
That pressure persisted, prosecutors say, even after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and disrupted the vote count during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, when Eastman emailed Pence’s lawyer and urged him “to consider one more relatively minor violation” of the Electoral Count Act and “adjourn for 10 days to allow the legislatures to finish their investigations” into the elections that had already been certified.
Eastman appears to be one of six unnamed co-conspirators in special counsel Jack Smith’s federal criminal case against Trump involving the efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. He has not been charged by federal prosecutors in that case.
Co-defendants Clark and Shafer seek federal court venue
Like Meadows, co-defendants Jeffrey Clark and David Shafer are trying to move their cases to federal court.
Lawyers for Clark, a former Justice Department official who helped promote Trump’s conspiracy theories about election fraud, are also trying a new tactic. They say in court filings that they will file an emergency motion to block any attempt to execute arrest warrants related to the case, adding that they haven't seen any such warrants for him or other co-defendants.
"The District Attorney is apparently relying on news media announcements to alert defendants to her arrest warrant threats," they said. "This is inconsistent with due process. Defendants should not have to watch the news or search for press stories to try to track down all legal papers in this case."
The lawyers also accused District Attorney Fani Willis of brazenly attempting to lock up political enemies, saying, “We have faith that the federal courts will ultimately recognize this Action for what it is — a naked attempt to destroy Mr. Clark by 'lawfare,' cost him millions in legal fees, impair his work in the conservative legal community at the Center for Renewing America in Washington, D.C., and tarnish his previously stellar reputation."
David Shafer, who was indicted on charges stemming from his participating in the so-called fake electors scheme in Georgia, claims he has a right to move his case to federal court because he was acting as a presidential elector and at the direction of the president. He is also claiming immunity under the supremacy clause of the Constitution.
“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 wrote. "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.”
Shafer’s lawyers also claim that the meeting of the “alternate electors” wasn’t shrouded in secrecy. They say media was invited into the room and the meeting was transcribed. An exhibit was attached to the filing with the transcription.
Mark Meadows seeks to move Fulton County election interference case to federal court
Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, one of the co-defendants charged with racketeering in the Georgia 2020 election probe, filed court documents last week seeking to move the new Fulton County case to federal court.
In a 14-page filing, Meadows argued that the charges in the indictment pertain to actions he took while he served in the Trump administration.
“Mr. Meadows has the right to remove this matter. The conduct giving rise to the charges in the indictment all occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff,” Meadows’ lawyers wrote.
They requested “prompt removal,” citing a federal law that allows U.S. officers to remove civil actions or criminal prosecutions in state court for alleged actions taken “under color” of their offices to U.S. District Court. Meadows also intends to file a motion to dismiss the indictment “as soon as is feasible,” his lawyers wrote. ABC News first reported Meadows’ filing.
Moving the case to federal court could result in a more favorable jury pool for defendants, and it would almost certainly mean no cameras would be allowed in the courtroom.
Trump says he will surrender at an Atlanta jail Thursday in Georgia election interference case
Former President Donald Trump said Monday night that he would turn himself in Thursday in Fulton County, Georgia, after he was indicted on sprawling charges stemming from his efforts to hold onto office in the wake of the 2020 election.
“Can you believe it? I’ll be going to Atlanta, Georgia, on Thursday to be ARRESTED by a Radical Left District Attorney, Fani Willis,” Trump wrote on his social media platform, Truth Social.
Willis, who launched the investigation into Trump and his allies, has given the defendants until noon Friday to surrender voluntarily.
Willis last week hit Trump and 18 other people with racketeering charges, accusing them of scheming to overturn the results of the 2020 election and told them to surrender voluntarily at the Rice Street Jail.
First defendant surrenders at Fulton County Jail
Scott Hall, a Georgia bail bondsman who was charged in connection with the Coffee County election data breach, has been booked into the Fulton County Jail, according to jail records.
Hall was among the 19 charged with Trump.
His bond is set at $10,000. He was one of five co-defendants whose consent bond agreement was made public yesterday.
As of this morning, he is listed as an active inmate and his status shows as “detained.”