Trump makes changes to legal team ahead of surrender at Fulton County jail

Trump makes changes to legal team ahead of surrender at Fulton County jail

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Washington — Former President Donald Trump is making changes to his legal team in Georgia ahead of his planned surrender at the Fulton County jail Thursday for booking on charges related to an alleged scheme to overturn the results of the presidential election in the state.

Trump is replacing his lead attorney on his defense team, Drew Findling, with Steven Sadow, an Atlanta-based lawyer who specializes in white collar and high-profile defense, according to a source familiar with the matter. Sadow entered his appearance as lead counsel for Trump on Thursday, according to a filing with the Fulton County Superior Court.

The shakeup comes hours before the former president is set to turn himself in to Fulton County authorities for processing in what is the fourth criminal case brought against him this year. Sadow will accompany Trump to the jail in Atlanta for his booking, the source said. Findling did not return a request for comment.

Though he has been booked and arraigned in the other three prosecutions, Trump’s surrender at the Atlanta jail will bring the first mug shot of a U.S. president, which is expected to be released to the public.

Trump's Fourth Indictment Lays Out Broad Georgia Election Plot
Law enforcement officers patrol the perimeter of the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023.

Alyssa Pointer/Bloomberg via Getty Images


His processing is expected to last under an hour. Trump’s attorneys and Georgia prosecutors agreed to a $200,000 bond earlier this week, as well as other conditions that in part prohibit Trump from intimidating his co-defendants, witnesses or alleged victims in that case, including on social media. Sources told CBS News earlier this week that the former president will be treated like any other defendant. In addition to having his booking photo taken, it is routine for defendants in Fulton County to be fingerprinted and have their iris scanned for biometric identification.

It’s unclear when Trump will appear in court to be arraigned and enter a plea, as the booking process and first court appearances are separate in Fulton County. District Attorney Fani Willis has suggested all 19 people charged under Georgia’s racketeering law in the case involving the 2020 election have their arraignments the week of Sept. 5. 

Willis set a deadline of noon Friday for all defendants to surrender at the Fulton County jail, and at least nine have done so already, including Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

The former president has denied any wrongdoing and accused Willis, who sought the indictment after a two-year investigation, of pursuing a politically charged “witch hunt” designed to harm his electoral prospects in the 2024 election.

The 41-count indictment returned by a grand jury last week claims Trump and others participated in a “criminal enterprise” that aimed to reverse the former president’s electoral loss in Georgia’s 2020 presidential election. Trump and 18 associates are accused of engaging in a wide-ranging plot to overturn the election results, which allegedly included making false statements to state legislatures and state officials; creating fake Electoral College documents and recruiting supporters to cast false votes; harassing a Fulton County election worker; and “corruptly” soliciting senior Justice Department officials and then-Vice President Mike Pence.

Trump has been charged with 13 counts, including an alleged violation of Georgia’s racketeering law, making false statements and writings, and conspiring to commit forgery, regarding the alleged plot to replace duly elected presidential electors with new electors who would vote for the former president.

The prosecution in Fulton County is the fourth Trump is facing, and Thursday will mark the fourth time he has been booked since April. He has been charged in two federal cases related to investigations overseen by special counsel Jack Smith: one in South Florida relates to his handling of sensitive government records, and a second in Washington, D.C., stems from alleged attempts to stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election. Trump is also facing 34 state felony charges in New York related to an alleged scheme to use “hush-money” payments to conceal damaging information before the 2016 presidential election.

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