Fact Check-Image purporting to show Donald Trump mugshot is AI-generated

An image purporting to show a mugshot of former U.S. President Donald Trump is AI-generated.

The image seemingly shows Trump pictured in front of a mugshot wall wearing a black t-shirt.

Examples of the image shared online can be viewed (here) and (here).

One post reads, “OMG! Is this the real mugshot or some fake???”

The image is not authentic and instead was created by artificial intelligence, experts told Reuters.

The most obvious indication that this is an AI-generated image is the printed letters and numbers in the background, Dr. Andrew Chen, Research Fellow, Koi Tū at The Centre for Informed Futures at The University of Auckland, told Reuters.

Printed text is an element that “AI hasn’t quite gotten right,” Chen said, adding that some AI-powered tools are known to struggle with printed text. When compared to recent press photographs of Donald Trump (viewable here), “there appears to be some blurring in the middle part of the hair.”

The skin in the AI-generated image is “inconsistent or too smooth,” Prof Rob Cover, Professor of Digital Communication at RMIT University (Melbourne), told Reuters. The size of the shoulders similarly does not match “the familiar size and build of the highly-photographed former president,” he added.

External context can be “just as important as the details in the image itself in ascertaining the validity of an image,” Chen told Reuters.

“The most important reason that we know this is a fake image is because of other contextual information - that it was widely reported that no mugshot was taken after Trump's arrest, and that even if there were one taken, in New York City mugshots are not generally made public,” he added (here), (here).

The image circulated online after Trump travelled to New York and pleaded not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records pertaining to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels (here).

Trump’s spokesperson, Liz Harrington, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Missing context. The image is AI-generated and does not show an authentic mugshot of Trump.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work (here).