Former US President Donald Trump was granted a consent bond bail of $200,000 after his lawyers successfully negotiated the bond with conditions in the Georgia election meddling case, as Trump announced he would surrender before the court Thursday latest.
Media reports in the US, however, saw the bond secured by Trump as a great transformation from the “world’s most powerful man to criminal defendant, four times indicted, as he steals for another indignity unthinkable in White House years".
What does the consent bond mean for Trump?
Trump under the consent bond has to show up as a defendant and pay the amount ordered by the judge as a collateral to ensure he shows up for the required court appearance as sought by Fulton County District Attorney Fan Willis, who had set a deadline of Friday for the ex-President and his 18 co-defendants to turn themselves in to be booked.
The bond stipulates that none of the defendants led by Trump plan to flee the country, or orchestrate another series of misdemeanours or conspiracy to stop the court proceedings or intimidate the witnesses appearing before the court, reports said.
While Trump might think that the spectacle of his surrendering to be booked at the Atlanta Jail as moved by the DA Fan Willis on 41 counts of felony and charged under Georgia’s unique RICO ACT (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act) will play out well for public sympathy before his Republican supporters, a section of the US media thinks otherwise.
The spectacle of Trump being paraded and booked at an Atlanta jail, to take place Thursday, only “underscores the outlandish circumstances of a former and possibly future president facing multiple criminal trials”, CNN and other media outlets said.
Trump’s arrival at Atlanta, which is sure to generate a huge media circus, will, however, trample any breakout moments by his adversaries in the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Trump is virtually snubbing the event as he works double time to overshadow, playing on his renowned theatrics of his own processing as a criminal defendant in a case that alleges he and 18 others tried to steal the 2020 election, reports said.
Following Trump's announcement, both John Eastman, counsel, and Georgia bail bondsman, Scott Hall, surrendered before the Fulton County jail in Atlanta and were booked under the charges laid out in the 4th indictment of election interference. Scott's bail was set at $10,000.
Trump has successfully overturned his humiliation from his previous three indictments into real meat for his 2024 presidential campaign, the 3rd time he is seeking to sit in the White House, that he’s a victim of political persecution.
But his treatment in Georgia, including mugshots and fingerprints like any ordinary man accused of a serious crime, will show how the fourth case is different that could eventually imperil him and dent his larger than life image. The cash bond is certainly not anything to leverage on, reports said.
“Despite the fact that we have seen this before, there is no denying the historic nature of it,” Norm Eisen, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama on ethics and government reform, told CNN.
The Georgia indictment is troublesome as any powers to freeze proceedings or even pardon himself, if he were to be elected President in 2024, can operate only if he is convicted in federal cases. The sweeping indictment brought by Fani Willis, a Democrat, would be beyond his reach, legal pundits said.
Trump’s bond agreements are considerably tougher than the minimal conditions imposed by a federal court in Washington, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, and under a federal judge in Florida – in three separate cases to which Trump has pleaded not guilty, reports said .
Under the bond negotiated by his counsels, Trump has had to agree to make no threats on social media against co-defendants, witnesses and the 30 unindicted co-conspirators, CNN said in a report.
Trump worsened his own cause when he warned on his Truth Social network that Geoff Duncan, the former lieutenant governor of Georgia, “shouldn’t” testify to the grand jury that eventually indicted him. Duncan is a Republican.
Employees in the sheriff’s office at Fulton County that will process Trump on Thursday have faced threats to themselves and their homes from his supporters, CNN said.
Conditions laid out in Trump's bond indicate that Willis and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who oversaw his bond agreement, have watched Trump’s behaviour in this and other cases. The former president has excoriated special counsel Jack Smith, who indicted him twice, on social media and in speeches. He has also criticised others who charged him on Truth Social. A Texan woman sent a voicemail to Judge Tanya Chutkan that she would kill her if she jailed trump.