AI-generated images of former President Donald Trump being arrested and going to prison are circulating online ahead of his possible indictment in a long-running hush money investigation.
A viral Twitter thread this week features dozens of life-like images of the former president resisting arrest, being lodged in jail, tried in court and acclimating to prison life.
The images – generated by Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative journalism group Bellingcat – had some commenters convinced Trump’s widely anticipated arrest had happened and turned out to be a chaotic spectacle.
“Legit thought these were real,” said Chris Jancelewicz, a managing editor for Global News.
Matt Karolian – who studied AI and journalism at Harvard University, according to LinkedIn – said, “We should really be putting watermarks on these that disclose they are AI generated and not real.”
A Manhattan grand jury is expected to vote as soon as Wednesday on whether to indict Trump in a case that reportedly centers on alleged 2016 attempts to buy the silence of two women who said they had sex with him, which he denies.
Trump had over the weekend announced that he expected to be arrested Tuesday and called for his supporters to protest, making the early days of this week an uncertain waiting period.
Higgins said he generated these images “while waiting for Trump’s arrest” using Midjourney, an artificial intelligence tool that generates images based on text descriptions. The tool is currently in a free open beta with multiple subscription options.
Midjourney developers last week announced an updated version with “higher image quality, more diverse outputs, wider stylistic range,” and more.
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Later in Higgins’ thread, he posted images of Trump weeping in a prison cell and picking out an orange jumpsuit.
Other images showed Trump playing basketball with other inmates and lifting weights.
At the end of the thread, Trump escapes prison and immediately visits a McDonald’s.