Explainer: Why does Trump now have a mug shot?

Former U.S. President Donald Trump had his mug shot taken today at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia. 
trump mug shot

Former U.S. President Donald Trump had his mug shot taken today at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia.

Trump surrendered himself to authorities in his fourth criminal indictment, this time over alleged interference in the 2020 election.

Despite being indicted three times before, this was the first time Trump’s mug shot has been taken.

Here’s why.

The mug shot

The decision to have a person’s mug shot taken is at the discretion of the respective police stations where Trump surrendered.

Fulton County Jail was the first police station that decided to take the mug shot, which is their standard practice.

The indictment

Earlier this month, Trump and 18 others were indicted on charges of ‘racketeering’ – an organised criminal scheme – punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The indictment says the scheme was “to unlawfully change the outcome of the [2020 Presidential] election in favour of Trump”.

The Fulton County District Attorney accused Trump and others of creating false electoral documents, lying to election officials and trying to ‘solicit’ (encourage) others to participate in their scheme.

Presidential campaign

Trump has continued his presidential campaign through each of his indictments.

Earlier this week, Trump chose an interview with conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson on X (formerly known as Twitter), rather than fronting the first presidential debate of Republican candidates.

He is still considered by many as the frontrunner to win the nomination to represent the Republican Party at next year’s election.


The Georgia charges could have different implications than some of his other indictments if he is to win the presidential election next year.

For one, the Georgia charges are state-based. Two of his indictments are at a federal level, on which sitting presidents are generally immune from being prosecuted.

This means that if Trump is elected, he’ll likely be able to avoid facing these charges. The other state indictment is in the state of New York.

If Trump is found guilty of the charges in Georgia, he won’t be allowed to give himself a presidential pardon, nor will any future U.S. president. The same applies to a future Georgia Governor.

Trump faces potential jail time related to all of his indictments.

Trump comments

While speaking on the tarmac ahead of his departure from Atlanta, Trump called his indictment a “travesty of justice”.

He maintained his innocence, and said he had “every single right to challenge an election that we think is dishonest”.

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