ATLANTA – The only person who spent time behind bars as a result of the sweeping indictment related to efforts to overturn then-President Donald Trump 's 2020 election loss in Georgia was released from jail Wednesday after his bond was set a day earlier.
A lawyer for Harrison William Prescott Floyd on Tuesday negotiated a bond amount of $100,000 with the office of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Floyd was charged along with Trump and 17 others in an indictment that accuses them all of illegally conspiring to subvert the will of Georgia voters who had chosen Democrat Joe Biden over the Republican incumbent in the presidential election.
Lawyers for Trump and the other defendants had all negotiated bond amounts before their clients surrendered at the Fulton County Jail by the deadline last Friday. Floyd had turned himself in Thursday without first getting a bond amount set and, therefore, had to remain in jail. A judge denied him bond during a hearing Friday, saying the issue would be addressed by the judge assigned to the case.
The day Floyd turned himself in, Willis told an attorney who had previously represented him that she had sent someone to meet with him at the jail to offer him a bond but he refused it and said he didn't want to talk without a lawyer, according to a recording of the call her office provided to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Willis said Floyd "made somewhat of a scene in the lobby of the jail and basically just begged to be booked in,” the newspaper reported.
The Fulton County Jail, where Floyd was held and where the others turned themselves in, has long been plagued with problems. Four people held in the main jail have died in the past month and the U.S. Department of Justice has an open civil rights investigation into jail conditions in the county.
Floyd is charged with violating Georgia’s anti-racketeering law, conspiring to commit false statements and illegally influencing a witness. The charges are rooted in harassment of Ruby Freeman, a Fulton County election worker who had been falsely accused of election fraud by Trump. Floyd took part in a Jan. 4, 2021, conversation in which Freeman was told she “needed protection” and was pressured to make false statements about election fraud, the indictment says.
In addition to the Georgia charges, federal court records show Floyd, identified as a former U.S. Marine who’s active with the group Black Voices for Trump, was also arrested three months ago in Maryland on a federal warrant that accuses him of aggressively confronting two FBI agents sent to serve him with a grand jury subpoena.
An agent’s affidavit filed in U.S. District Court says Floyd screamed, cursed and jabbed a finger in one FBI agent’s face and twice chest-bumped the agent in a stairwell. It says Floyd backed down only when the second agent opened his suit coat to reveal his holstered gun.
Meanwhile, legal maneuvering in the case continues.
A lawyer for Trump on Wednesday objected to a filing by Willis that sought clarification on trial timing.
Prosecutors say Kenneth Chesebro worked on the coordination and execution of a plan to have 16 Georgia Republicans sign a certificate falsely stating that Trump won the state and declaring themselves the state’s “duly elected and qualified” electors.
Chesebro last week filed a demand for a speedy trial. Willis then sought to set the trial for all defendants to begin Oct. 23. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee set a trial on that date for Chesebro alone.
In a filing Tuesday, Willis asked the judge to clarify whether his intention was to separate Chesebro from the other defendants for trial. She said she continues to believe all 19 defendants should be tried together and, at the very least, any of them who file speedy trial demands should be tried together.
Trump attorney Steve Sadow wrote in a filing Wednesday that the court's order needs no clarification and that the judge used his “discretion proactively and soundly to presumptively sever” those who filed for a speedy trial. Sadow also said Trump intends to file a motion to sever his case from those defendants.
Lawyer Sidney Powell, who's accused of making false statements about the election in Georgia and helping to organize a breach of voting equipment in rural Coffee County, had filed a speedy trial demand last week and on Wednesday filed a motion to sever her case from the other defendants. Her court filing says she “has no substantive connection with any other defendant regarding the charges in the indictment.”
Chesebro filed a motion Wednesday seeking the disclosure of the identity of 30 unindicted people referenced in the indictment. His lawyers argued that is needed “to be able to adequately challenge" prosecutors as they try to meet their burden to show “the existence of the conspiracy.”
After a Monday hearing on whether former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows can have the case against him heard in federal court rather than in Fulton County Superior Court, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones on Tuesday asked the district attorney's office and Meadows' team for more information before he rules. He gave them until 5 p.m. Thursday to submit additional briefs.
McAfee had set arraignment hearings next week for all 19 defendants. At least three have already submitted not guilty pleas and waived arraignment, meaning they will not have to appear.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the indictment cites a conversation that Harrison William Prescott Floyd is said to have taken part in with election worker Ruby Freeman on Jan. 4, 2021, not Jan. 4, 2020.