Judge Rejects Moving Meadows Case to Federal Court

Ruling keeps election interference case in Fulton County Superior Court
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2023 8:35 PM CDT
Updated Sep 8, 2023 5:13 PM CDT
Meadows Files to Move Georgia Case to Federal Court
Then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Oct. 21, 2020.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
UPDATE Sep 8, 2023 5:13 PM CDT

Mark Meadows' attempt to have his election interference case moved from a Georgia court to a federal one failed Friday. US District Judge Steve C. Jones rejected the motion by Meadows, former President Trump's onetime chief of staff, the Washington Post reports. Several of Meadows' codefendants have hearings coming up about having their cases moved, per the AP, and their chances of success just diminished. Jones said in a hearing last month that he expects his reasoning on Meadows' motion to apply to theirs, as well. The ruling is a victory for prosecutor Fani Willis, who wants the cases to be tried in Fulton County Superior Court and doesn't want the trials split up.

Aug 15, 2023 8:35 PM CDT

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is one of 19 people, including former President Trump, named in the Georgia indictment—and he's the first one to try to make the state case a federal one. In a court filing Tuesday, lawyers for Meadows argued that the case should be moved to federal court, where he can file for "prompt dismissal" of the charges against him, Politico report. Meadows' lawyer said the Georgia charges represent "state interference in a federal official's duties" and he is entitled to a federal immunity defense because the charges stem from his work as Trump's chief of staff, reports CNN.

The filing cited a law known as the "removal statute," which allows officials facing prosecution in state courts to move proceedings to federal courts if the case related to their duties, the Washington Post reports. Meadows, like the other 18 defendants, faces a racketeering charge. He has also been charged with soliciting an official to violate their oath of office, the Hill reports. He set up the call in which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to "find" more votes. In the Tuesday filing, he denied wrongdoing, saying actions like "contacting state officials on the President's behalf" and "setting up a phone call for the President" were not "criminal per se."

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"One would expect a Chief of Staff to the President of the United States to do these sorts of things," the filing stated. Some legal experts, however, argue that interfering with election results doesn't fall under any federal official's normal duties, Politico notes. Meadows is the first to seek a shift to federal court but others, including Trump and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, are expected to follow. (More Georgia indictment stories.)

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