US News

Trump Co-defendant Smith Appears in Atlanta Court on Election Charges

Donald Trump’s co-defendant Ray Smith was set to appear in an Atlanta court Friday, after the former president himself was booked in a wide-ranging criminal case over his attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.

Smith, an Atlanta lawyer, was indicted by a Fulton County grand jury earlier this month alongside Trump and 17 other co-defendants. He is accused of falsely claiming to Georgia lawmakers that thousands of felons, minors, dead people and unregistered voters cast votes in the presidential election.

His appearance comes after a momentous day in which Trump’s mug shot from the Fulton County Jail was released. Trump was captured glaring at the camera in the first such photograph of a former president in U.S. history, yet another extraordinary moment for the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination.

Trump, 77, already has entered uncharted territory as the first U.S. president to face criminal charges, but he did not have to submit to a photograph when making appearances in his three other criminal cases.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has charged Trump with 13 felony counts including racketeering for pressuring state officials to reverse his 2020 election loss and setting up an illegitimate slate of electors to undermine the formal congressional certification of Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory.

After spending about 20 minutes at the jail on Thursday evening before heading back to his New Jersey golf club, Trump repeated the claim that Willis’ prosecution – along with the others he faces – is politically motivated.

“What has taken place here is a travesty of justice,” he told reporters. “I did nothing wrong, and everybody knows it.”

Eighteen of the 19 total co-defendants, including former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, already have been booked, according to authorities.

Jeffrey Clark, a former high-ranking Justice Department official accused of trying to persuade Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to submit a letter to Georgia authorities falsely claiming the Justice Department had detected voting irregularities there, surrendered early on Friday morning.

Clark was released on $100,000 bond, according to Fulton County Sheriff’s Office records.

Trump has not yet entered a plea in the Georgia case. He has pleaded not guilty in two federal cases accusing him of seeking to overturn the 2020 election and retaining classified documents after leaving office, and to a New York state case linked to hush money payments to a porn star.

Far from damaging his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination, however, the four cases filed against him have only bolstered his standing. He holds a commanding polling lead in the Republican race to challenge Biden in the November 2024 election.

© 2023 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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