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Trump Legal News: Kodachrome

Sorry, readers, you just can't escape Donald Trump's legal troubles. Of course, neither can he.

We presume that things will soon slow down, and we won't have ten things to talk about. But today is not that day. Here is a rundown of the big developments on Thursday:

  1. Kodachrome: Ok, they don't actually make Kodachrome anymore, but it's what they used to use for mug shots (because of the precision of the image the film produced), and mug shots were the big story of the day. Donald Trump surrendered in Fulton County, GA, yesterday, and had a mug shot taken. That is a first for him (the previous three indictments were sans mug shot), and a first for any president of the United States. You're going to see it a lot, but if you haven't thus far, well, here it is:

    Trump without the combover, and in an orange jumpsuit

    Oops, wait. That's actually his NEXT mug shot. Our mistake. Here's the one from yesterday:

    Trump hunches forward, looks up at the camera

    Does Trump have body language consultants to warn him what to do, and what not to do? Or does he just go on instinct? We do not know, but we do know that he ended up choosing a posture that suggests "psychopath." It's an old acting trick, used to great effect by, among others, Heath Ledger in his Oscar-winning role as the Joker:

    Three shots of Ledger, as the Joker, using the same posture

    We're not the only ones to notice it. The director Stanley Kubrick was a particular fan of this body language shortcut, and reader M.B. in San Antonio, TX gave us the heads up that this meme is circulating on social media:

    Trump's mug shot, next to three screen captures from Kubrick films, each with a character using the 'Kubrick Stare'

    Note that Trump's posture cannot be attributed to the placement of the camera; of the other mug shots taken of his co-defendants, only Ray Smith has a similar posture (see below). Although John Eastman does have crazy eyes; we'll grant you that.

  2. Zen-ator: Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) was also struck by Trump's booking photo. He said: "I've seen President Trump with that look a couple times playing golf with him when he's missed a putt or I'm beating him in a round of golf." That has an almost Zen feel to us. Imagine if it was expressed in the form of a haiku:
    Donald Trump mug shot?
    Like a golf shot gone awry
    A world of struggle
  3. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number): Trump's prisoner number is P01135809. He's also listed as 6'3 and 215 pounds on his booking record. We do not know where the prison system gets that information, since it is clear that neither is particularly close to being true. Presumably, detainees are allowed to self-report their measurements. There was much commentary on social media on this point, like this tweet from NFL writer Scott Kacsmar:

    Trump compared to 
6'3, 218-pound wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald

    Some of the other tweets were considerably further below the belt.

  4. Kodachrome, Part II: Having failed to persuade a judge that he shouldn't have to surrender in Atlanta, Mark Meadows scurried down south and turned himself in before Trump did. Presumably, he was looking for news of his surrender to get drowned out by the coverage given to Trump's. In any case, including Trump, 12 of the 19 co-defendants have now been booked. Here are the other 11 mug shots:

    11 mug shots, including Meadows,
John Eastman, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell

    If you want to read more analysis of facial expressions and posture, Slate's Christina Cauterucci has you covered.

    With 12 down, there are seven people left to surrender. They are: former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, Trump lawyer Robert Cheeley, Trump campaign adviser Michael Roman, fake elector Shawn Still, pastor and accused poll-worker intimidator Stephen Lee, publicist and accused poll-worker intimidator Trevian Kutti, and Coffee County plotter Misty Hampton. Today's the deadline for them to do so.

  5. It's Not You, It's Me?: Shortly before surrendering, Trump announced that he has replaced his lead counsel in Georgia. Drew Findling is out, Steven Sadow is in, and Jennifer Little will stay on as second chair. Sadow has experience defending RICO cases, so that is presumably why he was brought in. It's not clear if Findling will shift to one (or more) of Trump's myriad other legal entanglements.

  6. The Fingers Keep Pointing: In his first filing before the court, in advance of his surrender, fake elector Still asserted he was "acting at the direction of the incumbent president of the United States." Yet another sign that we're in "every person for themselves" territory, and that Trump is not going to be able to get others to take the bullet for him, as he has so many times in the past.

  7. The Chese Stands Alone: Chesebro wants a speedy trial, and filed a motion asking for one yesterday. Fulton County DA Fani Willis and her team are happy to comply, and have proposed a start date of October 23. It is very unlikely that the whole case, including all 19 defendants, can be ready to go in just a couple of months. It is at least possible, however, that Chesebro's case will be severed from the others, and that he will get the speedy trial he wants.

  8. Move, Countermove: Meadows has already made clear he's planning to use a "I was just doing my job" defense. In response, Willis just subpoenaed Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. He's surely already talked to the grand jury, but this visit will be so he can comment specifically on Meadows' role in the conspiracy, and to share his (presumable) view that Meadows was going far beyond his legal authority.

  9. Error Jordan: Speaking of guys using their jobs as a shield, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) sent a blistering letter to Willis yesterday, questioning her motivations, warning her she's going to be investigated, and threatening to cut federal funding for her staff. The Representative is counting on his position to keep him safe from a charge of, say, obstruction of justice. How far can he push it before he ends up as co-defendant #20? We may find out.

  10. Mr. Martyr: Trump continues to play up the martyr bit for all it's worth, even when it doesn't make any sense. Looking to shake down his supporters for the umpteenth time, the former president sent them a "final note" yesterday, before heading, in his words, "to the notoriously violent jail in Fulton County, Georgia where I will be ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME." The overall impression given by the missive was that he might just be saying good-bye forever.

    It is true that jail is a tough one, and that an everyday accused felon could be in for a rough time there. It's also true that Trump was just there for a booking, that he was never close to the general population of the jail, and that he's most certainly not being treated like an everyday accused felon. Do his supporters not notice when he sends out a whole bunch more truths and fundraising e-mails just a few hours after his "final note"?

  11. All the Oxygen: Predictably, and presumably by design, Trump's surrender sucked up all the oxygen, and quickly pushed the debate off the front pages. We have an item about it (keep reading), but it won't be long until the Trump-free tilt is but a distant memory.

Who knows what next week will bring? The only thing we know for sure is that it never ends. (Z)

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