Judge Denies Mark Meadows’ Request To Move Georgia Election Interference Case To Federal Court


Ex-president Donald Trump’s former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows failed to meet the “quite low” threshold needed to move his Georgia election interference case to federal court, a judge ruled Friday, as four other defendants await hearings for the same request and a potential request from Trump also looms.

Key Facts

U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones ruled Friday Meadows hadn’t met the threshold because he engaged in political activities for Trump’s presidential campaign that “exceeded” the duties of a White House chief of staff.

The ruling could be a precedential sign for Trump, whose legal team has indicated it “may” make the same dismissal request as Meadows did—one that, if successful, could allow Trump to avoid a televised criminal trial, face a more favorable jury pool and pardon himself if he’s reelected president should he be convicted.

Meadows’ attorneys argued in an August filing that because he was a federal official at the time of his alleged Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law violation, he qualified for a statute allowing for the removal of state-level prosecution against a federal official.

Jones cited the Hatch Act, which prohibits civil-service employees from using their authority to affect the result of an election, in the ruling against Meadows, though he noted no Hatch Act violation was charged against the former chief of staff.

What To Watch For

Meadows’ co-defendants, ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, Georgia state Sen. Shawn Still, Coffee County GOP chair Cathy Latham and former Georgia GOP chair David Shafer have also motioned to move their respective cases to federal court—where they would likely face a friendlier jury pool, according to Politico. Hearings for Clark and Still’s requests will be held on September 18, though it is unclear when Latham and Shafer will have their hearings.

Key Background

All 19 defendants in the Georgia election interference case have pleaded not guilty to their charges. Meadows was charged with violating Georgia’s RICO law and soliciting a public official to violate their oath. The former chief of staff waived his right to an arraignment and agreed to a $100,000 bond, the third highest-bond of all defendants behind Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Trump himself. The former president, who faces three other indictments, is trying to separate his Georgia case from the other defendants requesting a speedy trial—as his team prepares to defend him against 13 felony counts including a RICO violation, conspiracy to commit impersonating a public officer and forgery conspiracy.

Further Reading

Ex-Trump Aide Mark Meadows Pleads Not Guilty In Georgia Election Case (Forbes)

Trump ‘May’ Try To Move Georgia Case To Federal Court (Forbes)

All Defendants In Trump’s Georgia Election Interference Case Have Now Pleaded Not Guilty (Forbes)

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