Fake Donald Trump mugshots shared online

25 August 2023
What was claimed

Donald Trump mugshots, one where he is wearing a black shirt and looking directly at the camera, and another where he is wearing a striped tie and an American flag badge, have been leaked.

Our verdict

Both mugshots are fake. A real one has been released where he is wearing a red tie.

We have seen a number of fake headshots of former president Donald Trump spread online, following his surrender in the US state of Georgia on charges of plotting to overturn the state’s election results. Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and described the case against him as a “travesty of justice”.

One image shared on social media was likely created using an AI image generator and has been spreading since at least April.

One major giveaway is the jumbled letters behind him—AI often struggles to correctly recreate text, resulting in garbled words in some AI-generated images. 

Mr Trump posted his real mugshot on Twitter, now known as X, with the words “Election interference” and “Never surrender!”

The genuine mugshot was also released to media organisations by the Fulton County Sheriff's Office. According to the BBC, this is Mr Trump’s fourth arrest in five months in a criminal case and his first booking photo.

Another fake mugshot has over 5,000 shares on Facebook. Although this looks more like the genuine image, in the real picture he isn’t wearing a striped tie and his skin tone is different. This fake appears to be an edited version of a photograph taken of the then-president in 2020.

Mr Trump was seen leaving his plane in Georgia before the real photo was taken and talking to the press afterwards wearing a red, not striped, tie and no American flag badge.

Fake mugshots of the former president have been shared before, including one where he appears to be wearing an orange jumpsuit. AI-generated images of him being arrested on the streets of New York have also gone viral, and Mr Trump himself has previously shared an AI image of himself kneeling in prayer. 

You can read our in-depth guide to spotting AI-generated images here.

Update 25 August 2023

We’ve updated this article to include a quote from Mr Trump in response to the charges.

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