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The 3 ways to post bond in Fulton County

KIFI

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) — When former President Donald Trump arrives at the Fulton County jail later this week to surrender in the criminal election subversion case, he’ll be able to choose between three different ways to pay the $200,000 bond that will keep him from being detained in the facility as his case unfolds.

Trump, like his 18 co-defendants in the sprawling racketeering case brought last week by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, will have the option of paying the bond with cash, through a professional bonding company or by putting up just 10% of the total amount.

Willis has given the defendants until noon Friday to surrender at the jail and already, a number of them have negotiated so-called bond orders with her office to ensure a speedy surrender process.

As of Tuesday afternoon, just two of the defendants had surrendered, including Scott Hall, himself a professional bondsman in Atlanta, who was charged in the case with crimes related to his alleged involvement in the Coffee County, Georgia, voting systems breach.

Here’s what to know about paying a bond in Fulton County.

Three different ways to pay

In Fulton County, defendants have three ways to settle the bond amount spelled out in their consent bond order, which is essentially a “stay-out-of-jail agreement” outlining the amount of money they have to put up in order to avoid being detained as their criminal case unfolds.

The first is with cash, which would require the amount to be paid in full at the jail.

The second way is through “commercial surety,” in which a defendant would use a professional bonding company. The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office publishes an “approved bonding list” for area companies it works with. If a defendant goes with this option, the company doesn’t actually pay any money to the county, but the defendant would have to pay a fee to the company for using their services.

The third option available to defendants is the “Fulton County Jail 10% program,” which allows a defendant to pay just 10% of their total bond amount – plus fees and other associated costs.

Trump election attorney John Eastman, who also surrendered on Tuesday, went with the 10% option, as did Hall.

Bond amounts and other provisions

The consent bond orders being negotiated between the defendants’ attorneys and Willis spell out the conduct a defendant is prohibited from engaging in and specifies the amount of money they have to pay for each count brought against them in the case.

For Trump, who was charged with 13 crimes in the case, his $200,000 includes $80,000 for allegedly violating Georgia’s racketeering act and $10,000 for each of the remaining 12 counts brought against him.

Unlike some of his co-defendants, the former president is explicitly barred in his order from using social media to target his 18 co-defendants in the case, as well as any witnesses and the 30 unindicted co-conspirators.

The Fulton County election subversion case marks the first time the release conditions for Trump have included a cash bond and a prohibition on intimidation through social media.

The approval process

The approval process for consent bond orders involves prosecutors with Willis’ office and defense lawyers meeting and agreeing on the terms of the order. They then share the agreed upon order electronically with court staff of the judge assigned to the case.

The judge will look over the terms and if they agree with the framework, the judge will sign it and send the bond agreement to the clerk’s office before it is published publicly online.

If either prosecutors or defense lawyers cannot agree on a bond, a bond hearing with the judge would be scheduled.

Getting the funds back

Defendants are able to reclaim the cash they put up only if they satisfy the appearance requirements of the bond order, meaning they will show up to all of the court hearings they are required to attend. Even if a defendant is convicted of a crime, they can still recoup the money they paid if they met the court appearance requirement.

The same applies for the 10% program, though the defendant will not get back the fees and other costs associated with using that option.

In the case of a professional bonding company, the company can only be held financially liable if a defendant doesn’t show up for a court appearance. And regardless of whether they abide by their bond order, the defendant does not get back the fee paid to the company to use it.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Zachary Cohen and Holmes Lybrand contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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