Some politicians have used mugshots to boost political fortunes
WASHINGTON (AP) — A celebrity and publicity aficionado long before he was president, Donald Trump was photographed countless times. But never like this.
Now that a New York grand jury has voted to indict him for his role in paying silent money to a porn actor, Trump will have to show up at the Manhattan prosecutor’s office to be booked, fingerprinted and present. have a photo ID taken. The former president, the first to be charged, is expected to surrender to authorities early next week.
New York law discourages the release of passport photos in most cases, although they have been released in the past. It’s less clear whether Trump would seek to have the photo published himself, for political or other reasons. Minutes after his indictment was announced, his 2024 presidential campaign was sending fundraising messages out of the newspapers.
Some Trump aides floated the idea of holding a post-booking press conference — a political trail blazed by Texas Governor Rick Perry when he turned himself in to authorities for his own photo ID in 2014 .
Indeed, what is a moment of shame for many defendants has not always been so for politicians. Some offered big smiles — or at least defiant smirks. They have tried to portray the moment as a political bonanza, seeking to boost their popularity with supporters who see them as unfairly targeted.
Here’s a look at how some notable politicians have handled their own mug shots:
A SMILE AND A SOFT-SERVE CONE
Dressed in a crisp dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, Perry pulled off his then-iconic dark glasses – as required by county rules – and offered a smiling half-smile in his photo of 2014.
The Republican was facing abuse of power charges for a veto prosecutors said he issued to settle political scores. But the governor did his best to make it clear that he considered the case a waste of time.
A jubilant group of supporters gathered outside, and when he walked out, Perry told them, “We will win.” He then went to get some vanilla ice cream from a nearby joint in Austin, Texas, and tweeted a photo of himself and his lawyers hoisting their own cones under the caption “And then, ice cream”.
Noting the governor’s posturing, the Democratic National Committee responded, “It may be a sideshow for Rick Perry, but no pirouette can cover two felony charges.”
Perry was looking to build momentum for a 2016 presidential race that ultimately fell apart within months — much like the case against him, which never went to trial.
While he didn’t mark the occasion with a press conference, fellow Texas Republican, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, also saw political opportunity in his mug shot. .
Indicted in Houston in 2005 for money laundering, DeLay wore a dark suit with his gold safety pin still attached and offered a smile so wide and toothy it looked like the resulting photo could have been put on a poster. the country. He was convicted, but the verdict was later overturned on appeal.
The 2004 Democratic vice presidential nominee and North Carolina Senator John Edwards also smiled broadly in his mugshot. Edwards, who wore a white shirt and blue tie in his 2011 photo, was accused of using nearly $1 million in funds from his 2008 presidential campaign to help cover up an extramarital affair. He was acquitted of one charge and the jury was deadlocked on the others.
The smile was less deliberate for former Attorney General John Mitchell, who offered a confused half-smile, wearing a shirt and tie but no jacket when he was booked in 1974. Mitchell was eventually convicted of conspiracy , perjury and obstruction of justice related to the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon. Once the nation’s top law enforcement official, Mitchell eventually served 19 months in prison.
However, not all politicians see criminal charges as a boost to their political future.
Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig was arrested in 2007 by an undercover police officer in a men’s restroom in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. The officer said Craig stamped his foot and signaled under the cabin that he wanted sex.
Craig looked extremely uncomfortable in his mugshot in a suit, tie and American flag lapel pin – sporting a tight-lipped look and wearing glasses that reflected deep reflections of light.
Craig seemed aware that his political career was effectively over. Despite subsequently unsuccessfully seeking to overturn his guilty plea and fending off calls from his own party to resign his Senate seat, Craig chose not to seek re-election in 2008.
Democratic Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was sporting blue jogging pants, his famous black hair decidedly less fluffy than usual, looked equally flustered, as he stared blankly at the camera shortly after federal agents showed up around 6 a.m. to arrest him.
During his second term, Blagojevich was arrested in 2008 and charged with trying to sell the Senate seat that Barack Obama vacated when he won the White House. He was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in federal prison – until Trump commutes his sentence in 2020.
Blagojevich, however, kept his sense of humor.
When New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez was arrested last summer while speaking out against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision in Washington, she was photographed holding her hands behind her back as if she was handcuffed – except she wasn’t wearing restraints.
Blagojevich tweeted a photo of Ocasio-Cortez next to his own mug shot under the caption, “At least when I get arrested, I get arrested for real!”