Fact Check

Is This Trump's Jail Mugshot That's Being Kept From the Public?

Beware of all the fake mugshots of the former president floating around the internet.

Published Apr 4, 2023

 (Screenshot via Twitter/CGBBURNER/New York Magazine)
Image Via Screenshot via Twitter/CGBBURNER/New York Magazine
Claim:
A photograph authentically shows former U.S. President Donald Trump's police mugshot from April 4, 2023, that media outlets weren't reporting on.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump was set to surrender to authorities in New York City on April 4, 2023, on hush-money charges related to document fraud. He was widely expected to be arraigned in court and fingerprinted, with many speculating on whether a police mugshot of him would be taken and released to the public. 

While many argued that a mugshot would not be taken of Trump due to him not being a significant flight risk, as well as a visible, public figure who is well-documented in the media, this did not stop the internet from spreading fake mugshots.

This one in particular appeared to show Trump in an orange prison jumpsuit: 

But this was not a real mugshot of Trump, nor was it a photograph that had been deliberately kept hidden by the media. This was a digital manipulation in which Trump's face had been edited to appear as though it were in a mugshot. 

This photograph was tweeted on the night of April 3, 2023. Trump was expected to be formally arrested in Manhattan on April 4, 2023. If a mugshot were to be taken of him, it would be taken the day after this fake one spread. 

This digital manipulation was derived from a September 2020 New York magazine story titled, "The People v. Donald J. Trump," which discussed the criminal cases in the works against him. The illustration was done by Joe Darrow and manipulated via an AFP photograph by Mandel Ngan and a generic photograph of a jumpsuit from the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.

Furthermore, according to one law enforcement official who spoke to The New York Times, the Manhattan Criminal Courts Building where Trump was expected to be arraigned does not have the equipment necessary to take Trump's mugshot. In order to get a mugshot, he would have to be taken to the New York Police Department's Central Booking facility, or to the Manhattan Detention Complex. Trump's arraignment has been highly choreographed by the Secret Service to reduce security risk to him, so moving around to get a mugshot would be highly unlikely.

This is not the first time we have fact-checked a fake mugshot of the former president. In March 2023, another digitally manipulated photograph of Trump went viral before his indictment by a New York grand jury. We have also previously fact-checked AI-generated images that claimed to show him being taken into custody at his private home in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

Given that this was a digitally manipulated photograph of Trump taken from a September 2020 magazine story and not a real mugshot, and because there's no evidence the news media was hiding the real mugshot, we rate this claim as "False." 

Sources

Gold, Michael, and William K. Rashbaum. "Here's Why Trump Is Not Expected to Have a Mug Shot Taken." The New York Times, 4 Apr. 2023. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/04/nyregion/trump-mug-shot.html. Accessed 4 Apr. 2023.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Is This Donald Trump's Jail Mugshot?" Snopes, 21 Mar. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/donald-trump-mugshot-arrest/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2023.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "No, This Is Not a Real Photo of Trump Being Arrested." Snopes, 20 Mar. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-getting-arrested-ai-image/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2023.

"Trump Indictment Live Updates: Former President's Arraignment Expected Today." NBC News, 4 Apr. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/live-blog/trump-indictment-live-updates-former-presidents-arraignment-expected-t-rcna77705. Accessed 4 Apr. 2023.

Wise, Jeff. "Donald Trump Could Be on Trial Sooner Than You Think." Intelligencer, 14 Sept. 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/donald-trump-criminal-case.html. Accessed 4 Apr. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.