It is no surprise that Donald Trump’s mugshot merchandise is popular. As it turns out, J6 has been profitable for the twice impeached four-time indicted former president, albeit for the wrong reasons. Moreover, attorneys continue to amass significant fees from defendants charged with allegedly violating the United States Capitol building, Trump, and his co-conspirators.
Trump’s campaign immediately released fundraising products emblazoned with his odd mugshot shortly after it was released. Some reports indicate they raked in $7.1 since his surrender in Fulton County, Georgia, last Thursday evening. But, Republicans are not the only group fundraising with the historic photo.
According to Reuters, Trump’s arrest photo “is being turned into T-shirts, shot glasses, mugs, posters, and even bobblehead dolls by friends and foes alike.”
Notably, the fact that his supporters and detractors want to grab onto a part of history is typical.
For example, when Queen Elizabeth II passed away, her memorabilia sales skyrocketed, temporarily closing retail outlets. While the value of most political collectibles is not likely to increase, people are driven to buy items like Trump’s mugshot merchandise for more than nostalgia.
According to The Guardian, “Humans are unique in the way we collect items purely for the satisfaction of seeking and owning them.”
NPR reports that Trump’s face has likely aired on billions of screens and has been on magazine covers, front pages, and book jackets. His photo has been taken at rallies, summit meetings, parties, ceremonies, high-rise offices, and his gilded homes. “But his best-known portrait may become the one taken this week against a plain wall in the Fulton County, Georgia jail.”
Finger Prints and Mugshot Courtesy of Atlanta Jail
The Fulton County Sheriff said they would process Trump like any other defendant.” His strategic surrender on August 24, 2023, coincided with television prime time.
As part of the process, Trump was assigned a prisoner number — P01135809 — Officers also took his mugshot and fingerprints. His height and weight — 6 foot three inches and 215 pounds — appear to be self-reported before his arrival at the jail.
The event was monumental since this was his fourth indictment: The previous three arrests did not include taking his mugshot. They claimed it was unnecessary since he was a public figure and there were plenty of available photos of the accused.
Overview of Federal Charges Against Trump
Most people learned about the extent of Trump’s attempt to overturn his loss in the 2020 election results when the United States House Select Committee aired public hearings on the matter. The first of several hearings took place on June 9, 2022.
Six months later, they referred Trump and his lawyer, John Eastman, to the U.S. Department of Justice office. Both surrendered and had a mugshot taken in Georgia this last week.
CNBC reported that the criminal referral accuses the former president of “obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the government, and inciting or assisting in an insurrection.” The committee also recommended the DOJ investigate Trump for “making knowingly and willfully materially false statements to the federal government.
Trump has pleaded not guilty in four indictments since the committee sent its recommendation to the DOJ.
- Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg was the first to file charges against Trump. He was charged with 43 counts of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree in this 2023 indictment. According to CNN, “Prosecutors allege [the former president] was part of an illegal conspiracy to undermine the integrity of the 2016 election.” Furthermore, the D.A. alleges Trump tried to suppress damaging information. Reportedly, he paid Stormy Daniel $130,000 in hush money through his then-personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Prosecutors did not require Trump’s mugshot to be taken. This trial is set for March 24, 2024.
- In June 2023, Trump was indicted by a Miami grand jury for allegedly taking classified national defense documents from the White House at the end of his presidency and refusing to return them. He and his aide Walt Nauta pleaded not guilty. Trump did not have a mugshot taken during processing in Miami. On July 27, Jack Smith, the special counsel, filed charges against Trump, Nauta, and a new defendant, Carlos de Olivera. Each defendant has pleaded not guilty. The trial is expected to happen sometime in May 2024.
- Special Counsel Jack Smith indicted Trump on four counts in connection with his “alleged efforts by the former president and a co-conspirator ‘attempted to exploit the violence and chaos at the Capitol by calling lawmakers to convince them…to delay the certification’ of the election.” Again, no mugshot was taken. While the trial date is not yet set, the trial will likely happen in 2024. UPDATE: Judge Tanya Chutkan set the pretrial motions to be completed by October 9, 2023. She gave Trump’s attorneys until December to advise the court of its evidence and expert witnesses they intend to use. Additionally, she set March 4, 2024 for jury selection to begin.
- Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis brought RICO charges against Trump and 18 co-conspirators on August 12, 2023, after a grand jury found cause to bring an indictment. Trump is charged with 41 counts for his alleged attempt to interfere with Georgia’s election. His co-conspirators are charged with one or more of the alleged crimes against the state. As the Fulton County Sheriff promised, Trump was treated to a mugshot like any other defendant; however, his arraignment did not happen after he surrendered. The former president is set to be arraigned on September 5, 2023.
Finally, defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. As NPR points out, Trump’s booking photo is a big deal because “Mugshots can be a great leveler in the American criminal justice system. They are visible reminders that the law applies to everyone.”
Trump turns mugshot into record breaking fundraiser. He’s raised $7.1 million off it so far, $4.18 million on Friday alone, which makes it the single highest 24 hour period of his campaign. And they say crime doesn’t pay. pic.twitter.com/Ko3kbI0mBh
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) August 27, 2023
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Political Marketer: Political Merchandising: Everything You Need to Know; By Kiran V
The Guardian: Why do we collect things? Love, anxiety, or desire; by Dr. Christian Jarrett
The Washington Post: Souvenir sales soar after queen’s death. So will their value — eventually. By Jaclyn Peiser
CNN: Donald Trump’s criminal cases, in one place
CNBC: Jan. 6 Committee sends DOJ historic criminal referral of Trump over Capitol riot; By Dan Mangan
BBC: Trump campaign raises $7.1m following historic Georgia mugshot; By Robert Greenall
Spectrum News: Trump mug shot merch all over the internet following Georgia surrender; By Susan Carpenter and Julia Benbrook
The Washington Post: The mug shot seen round the world: Donald Trump’s forever photo; By Karen Heller
Featured and Top Image by Kches16414 Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image by Eden, Janine, and Jim Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image by Warren LeMay Courtesy of Flickr – Public Domain License
Third Inset Image by Brett Davis Courtesy of Flickr – Creative Commons License