Former Trump White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, has requested a pause in the order denying his attempt to move his criminal case to federal court. U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in Atlanta ruled on Friday that Meadows had not met the threshold required for a jurisdiction change. Meadows is one of 19 people, including former President Donald Trump, who have pleaded not guilty to charges related to their alleged involvement in a "criminal enterprise" aimed at obstructing the 2020 presidential election following Trump's defeat. In a court filing on Monday, Meadows requested a stay of the order while he seeks an expedited appeal. He wants to prevent the case from progressing too far while the appeal is ongoing, stating that the court should stay the remand order to avoid a conviction pending appeal. If the state's timeline is followed, Meadows could face trial, conviction, and imprisonment before a federal appeal could take place.
Judge Jones has given Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis until noon on Tuesday to respond to Meadows' request. This ruling on Friday is considered an early victory for Willis, who spent two and a half years investigating and building the case against Trump, Meadows, and the other defendants. The charges were brought forth on August 15 under Georgia's anti-racketeering law.
Meadows is portrayed in the indictment as a mediator between Trump and others involved in coordinating strategies to challenge the election results and disrupt the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021. He has argued in court filings that he was acting in his capacity as Trump's chief of staff, and therefore the charges against him should be heard in federal court due to his status as a federal official. Trump has also indicated that he is considering requesting a move to federal court, and several other defendants have already made similar requests.
The ruling denying Meadows' request to move his case to federal court suggests that similar attempts by Trump and his co-defendants will also fail. Judge Jones' decision is seen as a positive outcome for Fulton County prosecutors, who charged Trump and 18 others with conspiring to reverse his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. Trump, who is currently the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.
Meadows is specifically accused of arranging calls and meetings where Trump allegedly pressured election officials to alter the vote count in his favor. This includes a call where Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to secure a victory. Prosecutors argued that these acts were not necessary or proper duties for a U.S. president and his chief of staff, while Meadows claimed they were part of his responsibilities as Trump's top aide.
Moving the case to federal court would have provided Meadows with a potentially more favorable jury pool, as federal courts draw from a larger and more politically diverse area compared to Fulton County, which is known as a Democratic stronghold. It would have also allowed Meadows to argue that he is immune from state prosecution due to his actions being carried out as a federal official. However, the ruling means that Meadows will continue to be tried in Fulton County.
The indictment against Meadows, Trump, and the other defendants alleges that they pressured state officials to alter Georgia's election results in Trump's favor and conspired to undermine the Electoral College, which formally elects the president. Trump has dismissed the criminal cases against him as part of a political plot aimed at preventing him from reclaiming the White House in the 2024 election. In addition to the Georgia case, he is also facing charges in Florida for mishandling classified documents, in Washington D.C. for his attempts to overturn the election, and in New York for a hush money payment made to a porn star. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and maintains his innocence.
themes: Joe Biden Donald Trump Florida Georgia Washington New York (state)