Fact Check

Is This Donald Trump's Jail Mugshot?

The images circulated widely in March 2023 after the former president said he was expecting to be taken into custody.

Published March 21, 2023

A booking mugshot authentically shows former U.S. President Donald Trump wearing an orange, jail jumpsuit.

UPDATE: On March 30, 2023, The Wall Street JournalAssociated Press, and other reliable sources reported a Manhattan grand jury indicted former U.S. President Donald Trump on charges related to hush-money payments made to Stormy Daniels, with whom he allegedly had an affair. 

As criminal charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump loomed in March 2023, a booking mugshot supposedly showing him in custody wearing an orange, jail jumpsuit circulated widely online. However, the images were not real but rather digital fabrications.

"i'm crying bro look at trump's mugshot," one Twitter user posted, sharing the manipulated images of Trump, one in which he faced forward and another showing his side profile. Another user posted, "donald trump's mugshot got me in tears."

The fake mugshot — which also appeared on Reddit and TikTok — gained popularity after Trump publicly predicted he would be arrested on March 21. A New York grand jury had been investigating accusations he paid the pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels hush money during his 2016 presidential campaign to keep her from going public about a sexual encounter she said she had with him, as reported by The Associated Press. On March 30, Trump was indicted.

The digital creations were made using authentic photos available via Getty Images' database of photojournalism. Both real photographs show Trump wearing a suit and tie. The side profile has been used since at least 2017 by publications like The WrapCosmopolitan, and Esquire. The front-facing photograph has been used since 2017 as well, in publications like Intelligencer.

March 2023 wasn't the first time the fake mugshot of Trump appeared online. It had been posted on Twitter since at least 2018.

It wasn't the only piece of fabricated visual content that we fact-checked amid reports of Trump's indictment. We previously fact-checked AI-generated images that claimed to show him being taken into custody at Mar-a-Lago.


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Cohen, Andrew. "The Word of the Summer Is 'Collusion.' What You Need to Focus on Is 'Conspiracy.'" Esquire, 17 July 2017, https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a56338/trump-collusion-conspiracy/.

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Levitz, Eric. "Trump Keeps Getting Mad When He Finds Out What His Policies Actually Do." Intelligencer, 15 Oct. 2017, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/10/trump-keeps-getting-mad-when-he-learns-what-his-policies-do.html.

Smothers, Hannah. "The Trump Administration Just Cut $200 Million From Teen Pregnancy Programs." Cosmopolitan, 14 July 2017, https://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a10309215/trump-cuts-teen-pregnancy-program-funding/.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.