The $200,000 bond approved for Donald Trump in the Georgia election interference case is significant as it suggests the former president “cannot be trusted” to surrender to authorities for processing, according to a legal expert.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee approved the amount for the former president on Monday, the first time Trump has been asked to post bond in any of the four criminal cases he is involved in.
The bond agreement, which also states Trump must not attempt to intimidate any potential witnesses, said that the former president can post bond as cash, commercial surety or through Fulton County’s Jail 10 percent program, whereby Trump can pay 10 percent of the bail if agreed by the Fulton County Sheriff’s office.
Trump and the 18 other suspects who were indicted under Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sprawling RICO case have until noon on Friday, August 25, to hand themselves in for processing at the Fulton County Jail. Trump said in a Truth Social post that he will surrender on Thursday, while attacking the Georgia investigation as a “witch hunt.”
Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves after speaking at the Republican Party of Iowa’s 2023 Lincoln Dinner at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on July 28, 2023. A judge has set a $200,000 bond for Trump in the Georgia election interference case.
SERGIO FLORES/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Discussing the bond arrangement, former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Harry Litman said that while the amount of money is not an issue for the former president, it is noteworthy that Judge McAfee should take steps to ensure that Trump does hand himself in.
“$200k bond for Trump—significant and something of an indignity that he has to post something. But the bigger provision is the anti tampering condition—he can’t do anything to intimidate any co-deft or witness or otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” Litman posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“Yes the 200k is not ‘significant’ measured by Trump’s wealth. But it represents a judgment, not made so far in the other cases, that he can’t be trusted to show up based on just his own word,” Litman added. “That’s quite a statement about a former president and it’s what I mean by ‘indignity.'”
In a post on Truth Social, Trump mocked the idea that a person of his status and profile needed a bond arrangement, while also attacking Willis.
“The failed District Attorney of Fulton County (Atlanta), Fani Willis, insisted on a $200,000 Bond from me,” Trump wrote. “I assume, therefore, that she thought I was a ‘flight’ risk— I’d fly far away, maybe to Russia, Russia, Russia, share a gold domed suite with Vladimir [Putin], never to be seen or heard from again.
“Would I be able to take my very ‘understated’ airplane with the gold TRUMP affixed for all to see. Probably not, I’d be much better off flying commercial—I’m sure nobody would recognize me!”
The bond arrangement also set other strict rules for Trump’s release. The former president is not allowed to communicate with witnesses or any of the 18 other co-defendants in the case, which includes his former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and his ex-personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, except through his lawyers.
Trump is also prohibited from attempting to intimidate any co-defendant or witness in the case or to “otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” or make “direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community or to any property in the community,” including in “posts on social media or reposts of posts” on social media platforms.
Trump was previously accused of witness intimidation via his Truth Social posts by legal experts after suggesting that former Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan shouldn’t testify to a grand jury just prior to the Fulton County indictment being announced.
Correction, 8/22/23, 9:00 a.m. ET: This article has been amended to say that Donald Trump and the defendants have until August 25 to surrender, not August 23.