Trump co-defendant remains in jail after telling judge he cannot afford private lawyer

Booking mugshot of Harrison Floyd

By Jack Queen

ATLANTA (Reuters) -One of Donald Trump's co-defendants in a wide-ranging election-fraud case in Georgia remained behind bars on Friday, after he told a judge that he could not afford a private attorney to represent him and was denied bond.

Harrison Floyd said at his first court appearance that he could not afford a private lawyer and had been denied representation by a public defender because he did not qualify.

Floyd, who appeared virtually, said that it typically cost between $40,000 to $100,000 just to retain a private lawyer to fly to Georgia.

"I cannot afford an attorney for something like this," he said, telling Fulton County Superior Court Judge Emily Richardson that he did not want to put his family in debt.

Richardson told Floyd that he could either hire a lawyer or represent himself.

It was not immediately clear why Floyd was told he could not be represented by a public defender. Generally, defendants must meet certain financial requirements to qualify.

For now, Floyd will remain in Fulton County Jail, which is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for violence and unsanitary conditions, as well as 15 inmate deaths last year. One of those was a man whose family says in a lawsuit was "eaten alive" by bedbugs.

Floyd had maintained that he was not a flight risk, but he was told that the issue of the bond would ultimately be decided by Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case.

Trump and the 17 others charged in the case have already reported to jail and posted bond.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has charged Trump with 13 felony counts including racketeering for pressuring state officials to reverse his 2020 election loss and setting up an illegitimate slate of electors to undermine the formal congressional certification of Democratic President Joe Biden's victory.

Floyd, a former U.S. Marine and mixed martial arts fighter, is accused of participating in a scheme to pressure an election worker to falsely admit to voting fraud.

In a separate case, Floyd was arrested in Maryland in May and charged with assaulting FBI agents who tried to serve him with a subpoena, court records show.

All 18 other defendants in the case have been released after posting bond, records show. Bail amounts range from $200,000 for Trump to $150,000 for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani to $10,000 for Misty Hampton, a former election supervisor in a rural Georgia county who is accused of tampering with voting equipment.

One of those defendants, attorney Sidney Powell, asked the court on Friday for her trial to begin by Nov. 3 at the latest, as is allowed under Georgia law.

District Attorney Willis had originally proposed a March 4 trial date for all 19 defendants, including Trump. But McAfee has agreed to a separate Oct. 23 trial for lawyer Kenneth Chesebro, who like Powell had asked for an earlier date.

Trump's legal team has not yet proposed a trial date.


Floyd's appearance comes after a momentous day in which Trump's mug shot from the jail was released. Trump, 77, was captured glaring at the camera in the first such photograph of a former president in U.S. history, yet another extraordinary moment for the front-runner for the 2024 Republican nomination.

After spending about 20 minutes at the jail on Thursday evening, Trump repeated the claim that Willis' 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."

One of the final defendants to surrender, former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, turned himself in early on Friday and was released on $100,000 bond, records show.

Trump has not yet entered a plea in the Georgia case. He has pleaded not guilty in two federal cases accusing him of seeking to overturn the 2020 election and retaining classified documents after leaving office, and to a New York state case linked to hush money payments to a porn star.

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 Biden in the November 2024 election.

(Reporting by Jack Queen in Atlanta; Writing by Andy Sullivan, Luc Cohen and Noeleen Walder; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Christian Schmollinger)