Donald Trump's mug shot was released on Thursday evening after he was booked at an Atlanta jail on more than a dozen felony charges as part of a wide-ranging criminal case stemming from the former U.S. president's attempts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.
An unsmiling Trump - inmate no. P01135809, according to Fulton County Jail records - was captured glaring at the camera in the mug shot. The image represented yet another extraordinary moment for Trump, who did not have to submit to a photograph when making appearances in his three other criminal cases.
He wasted little time trying to turn it to his advantage, posting it on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, as well as his own social media site, Truth Social. His campaign website featured the mug shot along with a message from Trump defending his actions and asking for donations.
The X post appeared to be Trump's first on the site since his account was banned after a mob of his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. X owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump's account late last year.
Trump spent only about 20 minutes at the jail before heading back to his New Jersey golf club. Before boarding his private plane at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport, he repeated his claim that the prosecution - along with the others he faces - is politically motivated.
"What has taken place here is a travesty of justice," he told reporters. "I did nothing wrong, and everybody knows it."
Trump, 77, already has entered uncharted territory as the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges, even as he mounts another campaign for the White House next year.
Far from damaging his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination, however, the four cases filed against him have only bolstered his standing. He holds a commanding polling lead in the Republican race to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 2024 election.
Dozens of supporters, waving Trump banners and American flags, jostled for a glimpse as Trump arrived at the jail. Among the Trump backers gathered outside was Georgia U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of the former president's most loyal congressional allies.
Lyle Rayworth, 49, who is in the aviation industry in the Atlanta area, had been waiting near the jailhouse for 10 hours, since early on Thursday.
"Yeah, I'm hoping he sees me waving the flags, showing support," Rayworth said as he awaited Trump's arrival. "He needs us."
The image is certain to be circulated widely by Trump's foes and supporters alike. (Reuters)