Former President Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants indicted by a grand jury in Georgia over their attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election result in that state have been given until noon ET on Aug. 25 by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to voluntarily surrender.
According to the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, all 19 are expected to be booked inside Atlanta’s Fulton County Jail, a notorious facility that is currently under investigation by the Justice Department for what it called “serious allegations of unsafe, unsanitary living conditions.”
The jail — known to locals by its address, Rice Street — has been plagued by overcrowding and detainee deaths.
“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 Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“Keep in mind, defendants can turn themselves in at any time,” the sheriff’s office added. “The jail is open 24/7.”
The jail, which was designed to house 1,125 inmates when it opened in 1989, is currently holding more than 2,500, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
More than 60 inmates died at the jail between 2009 and 2022, the paper noted. Last year 15 inmates died at the jail, including four within a week, prompting the DOJ’s probe.
And the family of Lashawn Thompson reached a $4 million settlement with Fulton County earlier this month, less than a year after he was found dead inside his cell and covered in bugs.
Ben Crump, the family’s attorney, described Thompson’s cell as a “torture chamber.”
“It’s miserable. It’s cold. It smells. It’s just generally unpleasant,” Robert G. Rubin, a defense lawyer who has represented many clients booked there, told the New York Times. “Plus, there’s a high degree of anxiety for any defendant that’s in that position.”
It’s unclear, though, whether Trump will ultimately be processed there. The Secret Service, which oversees security for the former president, could request a different venue over potential safety concerns at the jail. And according to CNN, Trump’s attorneys are negotiating the terms of his surrender with the district attorney’s office.
If Trump does get booked at Rice Street, though, Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat said the 2024 GOP primary frontrunner would be treated like any other detainee: He would undergo a medical screening, be fingerprinted, have mug shots taken and potentially spend time in a holding cell.
“It doesn’t matter your status,” Labat told reporters before Trump’s indictment. “We have a mug shot ready for you.”