Only Black Defendant in the Fulton County Trump Indictment Is Denied Bail

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The biggest news last Thursday was the booking and unnecessary mugshot of Donald Trump. It was unnecessary because Georgia law does not require a booking photo if the defendant is known. Donald Trump is a known quantity and, as it turns out, the booking photo has backfired on Fani Willis. Rather than presenting a deer-in-the-headlights look she gave Trump “street-cred," with a look of defiance.


Also booked on Thursday in the Georgia RICO claim is a man named Harrison Floyd. Mr. Floyd is the only black man charged in the Fulton County matter, and he is the only defendant behind bars.

Floyd appeared by teleconference/phone call before a judge named Emily Richardson. Before Richardson took her current job, she was a prosecutor. Judge Richardson was filling in for the presiding judge. Floyd claimed that he hadn’t been Mirandized, so Richardson read him his rights. It seems inconceivable that he hadn’t been read his rights but in any event, his rights to an attorney and to remain silent were read.

Part of his first appearance was the matter of considering bail. Donald Trump was required to post bail. Beyond the booking photo being unnecessary and an illegitimate strong-arm tactic of the state, requiring perhaps the most recognizable human on planet Earth to post a bond is also absurd. Trump’s bond was based on 13 counts and a simple math equation. $80,000 for Count One and $10,000 for 12 additional counts.

One would assume that, under a "worst case" each of the remaining 18 defendants would have the same opportunity to post a bond based on the same, simple addition. Floyd has been charged with three counts: Count 1, Count 30, and Count 31. Three counts should equal a $100,000 bond. But not for Floyd. He was denied bail altogether.


During his preliminary hearing and following Judge Richardson reading him his rights, she inquired if there was any “criminal history” for her to consider regarding the issue of bond. Someone for Fulton County “Pretrial Services” said that Mr. Floyd had a “prior” dated from May 2023: a charge of simple assault on an FBI agent. Floyd correctly said that that the charge was an allegation and added he didn’t have a criminal history. He doesn't.

Richardson said she “knew it was just an allegation” and then proceeded to deny bail. Richardson, knowing that Floyd was in detention and was unrepresented, didn’t make any further inquiry regarding Floyd’s likelihood to appear for future hearings or if he was a candidate to re-offend. She didn’t ask if he had any family, or if he had a job or was supporting anyone. Floyd has a daughter at home. Richardson didn’t ask any other questions that someone trying to determine if Floyd was a flight risk could or should pose. In short, she didn’t do her job.

Yes, Floyd has been accused of simple assault on an FBI agent. The affidavit filed by the FBI agent claims that Floyd bumped his chest after they attempted to serve him with a subpoena. In America, allegations are not a “criminal history.” They are allegations. Everyone, including someone accused of simple assault, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. And Floyd wasn’t sitting in detention for the assault allegation; he was in detention for the Fulton County case.


Yet, he was the only defendant denied bail. Richardson’s only excuse for denying Floyd the same bond consideration is that she was filling in for the presiding judge. But that isn’t a valid excuse; it is just an excuse. There is no evidence that Floyd is a flight risk, and the Fulton County case isn’t a case where anyone is likely to re-offend before the proposed October 23, 2023, trial date--nor does the case involve violence. 

Fani Willis has demonstrated that she is political and partisan. It appears the Fulton County Judiciary has the same problem. 



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