Hearing for co-defendant Meadows’ request to move Georgia case to federal court

August 28, 2023

A federal judge in Atlanta was set Monday to hear arguments in former Trump White House Chief of Staff and co-defendant Mark Meadows’ request to have his trial related to Georgia’s 2020 election moved to federal court. 

Meadows is among 19 co-defendants, including former President Trump, who were indicted by a grand jury last week related to attempts to overturn the state’s election. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has given each of the co-defendants until Friday to “voluntarily surrender” or face an arrest warrant.

All 19 co-defendants face racketeering charges. Meadows, who turned himself in and had his mug shot taken Thursday, also faces an additional charge of solicitation of violating an oath by a public officer.

Meadows’ attorneys requested earlier this month to move his case from Fulton County to federal court, arguing that all of his actions from which the charges derived “occurred during his tenure and as part of his service as Chief of Staff.”

A few days later, the former the Meadows team took their efforts one step further—requesting that charges against him be dismissed altogether.

While U.S. District Judge Steve Jones scheduled Monday’s hearing to discuss Meadows’ request to move the case, he declined Meadows’ request to have his charges dismissed.

Willis’ prosecution team has countered Meadows’ assertions, insisting that the actions in question were intended solely to keep Trump in office, meaning that they were explicitly political in nature and illegal under the Hatch Act, which restricts partisan political activity by federal employees.

A grand jury in Georgia handed down their indictment against Meadows based on the Willis team’s allegations that Meadows participated in meetings or communications with state lawmakers along with Trump and others that were meant to advance the alleged illegal scheme to keep Trump in power; Meadows traveled to Atlanta’s suburbs where a ballot envelope signature audit was happening; and he took part in a January 2, 2021 phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2, 2021, during which the then-President pressured his fellow Republican to “find” a needed 11,780 votes to overturn then-President-elect Biden’s victory in the state.

On Thursday, Raffensperger and election investigator Frances Watson, who was also pressured by phone, were subpoenaed to testify at Meadows’ hearing.

Monday’s hearing is Willis’ first test to see if she can keep her investigation in Fulton County. Should Meadows succeed in having it moved to federal court where he could potentially face a more politically-friendly jury, other co-defendants—including Trump—may also seek to have their cases transferred.

Trump and most of his co-defendants, including Meadows, are set to be arraigned in Georgia September 6.

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