'Extremely difficult': Experts weigh repercussions if Trump violates Georgia bail

'Extremely difficult': Experts weigh repercussions if Trump violates Georgia bail

Former President Donald Trump is set to surrender to Atlanta authorities Thursday, August 24, three weeks after the 2024 MAGA hopeful and 18 others were indicted by a Fulton County Superior Court grand jury on charges related to his attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

Although he is expected to be released on a $200,000 bond set by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the bail order warns Trump "not to intimidate or threaten witnesses or any of his 18 co-defendants as a condition of the bond agreement," according toThe New York Times.

The Timesreports:

Under his bond agreement in Georgia, Mr. Trump cannot communicate with any co-defendants in the case except through his lawyers. He was also directed to 'make no direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community,' including 'posts on social media or reposts of posts made by another individual.'

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

A Tuesday, August 22 NBC News report highlights legal experts' responses to the question, "What happens if Trump, who has previously lashed out at efforts to restrict his comments on social media, violates that order?"

Now that bond has been set, NBC reports:

If Trump makes social media posts that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis considers threatening, he could be ordered to attend a hearing where McAfee would review his conduct and determine if it really violated the conditions of his release. If the judge rules that Trump did violate those conditions he would then decide the appropriate punishment.'

The Times notes that ahead of the bond order, the former president attacked Willis in a Monday Truth Social post, calling her "crooked, incompetent, & highly partisan," and saying the DA "has allowed Murder and other Violent Crime to MASSIVELY ESCALATE," when, "In fact, homicides have fallen sharply in Atlanta in the first half of the year."

However, despite the ex-president's social media bullying, NBC notes, "The practical difficulties of imprisoning a former president and leading candidate for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination in the Fulton County jail make it extremely unlikely that a single violation of his release conditions, unless it's especially egregious, would land Trump in pre-trial detention, Georgia legal experts tell NBC News."

READ MORE: 'Voluntarily surrender by noon on Aug 25': Fani Willis demands Trump and his allies to submit for arrest

Georgia State Representative Tanya Miller (D-62nd District), a Fulton County ex-prosecutor, told the news outlet, "The court's power to ensure that its order is enforced will really depend on the manner in which the accused person has violated that order. The remedy can be fashioned to get at that violation and it can mean revoking a bond, it can mean just adding additional conditions."

She continued, "I would think that if it's a close call the state may decide to not be so heavy-handed, just to keep their case clean and moving forward. But if there is a clear violation on all fours, for example someone has some audio tape of one of the defendants actively engaging in threats or actively trying to influence a witness then I think the state has an obligation to ensure the integrity of the case and the integrity of the trial."

Georgia State University Law Professor Caren Morrison emphasized, "Donald Trump isn't the kind of person you can just throw in the slammer. He's got to have his security guys, his secret service, with him and they can’t do anything that would possibly jeopardize his personal safety. So I think it would be extremely difficult to do."

Noting that "judges have a variety of options to ensure a defendant's compliance with a bond order short of issuing an arrest warrant and usually don't like sending defendants to jail after they've already posted bond," Morrison added, "They're not necessarily jail-happy. I think they do try to give people a chance to straighten themselves out rather than getting remanded. But if the behavior continues or is repeated then yeah, that's what you're looking at at the end of the road."

READ MORE: Bail bondsman becomes first Trump co-defendant to surrender: Will 'any defendants use his services'?

NBC's full report is available at this link. The New York Times' report is here (subscription required).

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