By Jack Queen
ATLANTA (Reuters) -The first of Donald Trump’s co-defendants in Georgia’s criminal case accusing the former U.S. president and his associates of subverting his 2020 election loss surrendered at an Atlanta jail on Tuesday, according to county records and a statement.
Trump’s former lawyer John Eastman and Republican poll watcher Scott Hall both surrendered to the county sheriff’s office.
It is expected that the remaining 17 defendants named in the indictment will surrender by Friday, the office said in a statement.
Trump was set to turn himself in on Thursday to face his fourth criminal indictment this year.
Trump, the front-runner for the Republican 2024 White House nomination, has lambasted all the prosecutions as politically motivated and continues to claim falsely that his 2020 loss to Democratic President Joe Biden was the result of fraud.
Eastman said in a statement he would surrender, the day after agreeing to a $100,000 bond agreement.
“I am here today to surrender to an indictment that should never have been brought,” Eastman said in the statement. “It represents a crossing of the Rubicon for our country, implicating the fundamental First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Hall, a Republican poll watcher in Georgia’s Fulton County, was booked by the county’s sheriff’s office on Tuesday, the jail records showed.
Hall previously agreed to a $10,000 bond deal requiring that he report to pre-trial supervision every 30 days.
Trump on Monday agreed to post a $200,000 bond and accepted bail conditions that would bar him from threatening co-defendants or witnesses in the case.
In a 41-count Georgia indictment unveiled last week, Trump and 18 other defendants were charged with racketeering and other crimes over their efforts to reverse Trump’s loss in the state to Biden.
Prosecutors are seeking a trial in March, but the number of defendants and complexity of the case could lead to delays.
Mark Meadows, Trump’s former chief of staff, sought last week to move the case to federal court and dismiss it on the grounds he is immune from prosecution for actions he took as a federal official.
Meadows asked to delay his surrender until after a hearing in federal court on Monday but was rebuffed by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who told his lawyers she will seek his arrest if he does not turn himself in by Friday afternoon, court records showed.
Trump and the rest of the defendants are likely to raise similar arguments, which could cause delays as their lawyers spar with prosecutors in pretrial litigation.
Trump faces indictments in three other separate criminal cases.
He has been charged in Washington, D.C., over his efforts to overturn the election, in Florida over his handling of classified documents upon leaving office, and in New York over a hush money payment to a porn star.
(Reporting by Jack Queen in Atlanta, additional reporting by Jasper Ward, Susan Heavey and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Scott Malone and Daniel Wallis)