Federal Court Move Sought by Mark Meadows in Criminal Charges Case
Former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is seeking to have criminal charges filed against him in Fulton County transferred to federal court. This comes after a Fulton grand jury recently charged Meadows with racketeering and solicitation of violation of oath of by a public officer, in connection with former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results.
Arguments for Change of Venue to Federal Court
Meadows’ attorneys filed a 14-page document with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, asserting that their client had the right to change venues because the alleged criminal behavior occurred during his tenure as Chief of Staff. They argued that the actions attributed to Meadows, such as arranging meetings and contacting state officials, were typical duties for a Chief of Staff and had less to do with state law interests than other charges that have been transferred to federal court.
Expected Outcome and Potential Implications
Meadows’ move to transfer the case to federal court was not unexpected, as federal officials charged with crimes can exercise this right under the removal statute enacted in 1789. If approved, Meadows would likely face a more conservative jury pool and have a U.S. District judge presiding over the case. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who initiated the charges, is anticipated to contest the transfer and advocate for keeping the case in Fulton Superior Court.
Similar Actions to be Taken by Trump and Jeffrey Clark
It is expected that former President Donald Trump and former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark will make similar moves to have their cases transferred to federal court in the coming days.
Meadows to File Motion to Dismiss
Meadows’ attorneys stated that their client intends to file a motion to dismiss the indictment against him. They propose that the transfer to federal court would be an interim measure until an evidentiary hearing is held before a judge.
Details of the Indictment Against Meadows
The indictment alleges that between November 2020 and January 2021, Meadows engaged in several actions related to vote counts in Georgia and Pennsylvania. It specifically mentions his unannounced visit to the Cobb County Civic Center, where a signature match audit was taking place, and his successful efforts to connect Trump with Francis Watson, the then-chief investigator for the Secretary of State, who was involved in the audit. The indictment also highlights Meadows’ text messages to Watson, in which he inquired about expediting a signature verification audit in Fulton. Additionally, Meadows was charged with solicitation of violation of oath of public officer for his involvement in the phone call between Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where they allegedly attempted to influence the certified returns for presidential electors in Georgia’s November 3, 2020, election.