Judge denies Mark Meadows’ attempt to move Georgia election case to federal court

A federal judge in Georgia ruled Friday that former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows could be tried in state court in connection with former President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Meadows, one of 18 Trump allies and supporters charged last month along with the former president, had argued that he was being charged in connection with actions he took during his official duties, and that federal court was the appropriate place to hear. the case.

U.S. District Judge Steve Jones disagreed, writing in a 49-page opinion that Meadows’ official duties “did not include working with or for the Trump campaign, except simply coordinating the president’s schedule, traveling with the president to his campaign events and redirect communications to the campaign. Therefore, according to his testimony and federal statutes and regulations, participating in political activities is [sic] exceeds the outer limits of the Office of the White House Chief of Staff.”

“Therefore, consistent with your testimony and federal statutes and regulations, engaging in political activities is [sic] “exceeds the outer limits of the Office of the White House Chief of Staff,” Jones added.

Meadows, 64, was charged by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis with violating Georgia’s racketeering law and soliciting a public figure to violate his or her oath of office.

Meadows argued that his Georgia case should be tried in federal court. AP

The latest charge was filed in connection with the now infamous January 2, 2021 phone call that Trump and Meadows participated in with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. In the call, Trump was recorded asking Raffensperger to “find” enough votes in Georgia to reverse his loss to Joe Biden.

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“The Constitution provides no basis for executive branch involvement in state election and post-election procedures,” Jones wrote, later adding that Raffensperger’s call “went beyond those activities that are within the official role of the Chief of Staff.” of the White House, such as scheduling the President’s phone calls, observing meetings, and attempting to wrap up meetings to keep the President on time.

“Rather, Meadows’ participation in the January 2, 2021 call was political in nature and involved the president’s private litigation, none of which is related to the purview of the White House Office of the Chief of Staff.”

The indictment accuses Meadows of engaging in eight “overt acts” intended to promote Trump’s bid to remain in power after his loss to Biden. Jones ruled that only one of those acts — asking Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) for contact information for Pennsylvania legislative leaders — “arguably” fell within the chief of staff’s official duties.

Mark Meadows and Donald TrumpMeadows is one of Trump’s 18 co-defendants in Georgia. AFP via Getty Images

Meadows’ remaining alleged actions, including offering to have the Trump campaign pay for expedited signature verification in Fulton County, arranging Trump’s call with an investigator in Raffensperger’s office and traveling to the suburban county of Cobb to attempt to observe a signature matching audit, did not do so, according to Jones, who found that Meadows did not provide “sufficient evidence that these actions were related to any legitimate executive branch purpose.”

Meadows was questioned by attorneys representing the Fulton County Prosecutor’s Office last week when he took the witness stand as part of his effort to move his case to federal court.

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He denied that he ever deviated from his official position.

“Serving the president of the United States – and I want to make this clear, your honor – takes all forms,” he argued.

Marcos PradosMeadows turned himself in to Fulton County authorities last month after an emergency motion to prevent his arrest was denied. AP

“I would try to stay on top of everything that was going on,” Meadows insisted. “The campaign never paid me, I never supervised the campaign. “They had their own structure.”

Jones found Meadows’ testimony unconvincing and wrote in his ruling that “When asked about the extent of his authority, Meadows was unable to explain the limits of his authority, other than his inability to defend the President or work on behalf of the President.” of the Bell. “

“The Court finds that Meadows did not adequately convey the outer limits of his authority,” Jones wrote.

Meadows is one of five Trump co-defendants who have sought to move their cases to federal court.

Former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark, former Georgia Republican Party Chair David Shafer, Georgia State Senator Shawn Still, and former Coffee County Republican Party Chair Cathy Latham have filed similar appeals to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Trump is also expected to file a motion before the end of the month to advance his case.

His attorney, Steven Sadow, notified Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee on Thursday that Trump “may request the transfer of his prosecution to federal court.”

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There was no immediate comment from Meadows on the decision, but Jones’ ruling is likely to be appealed.

Meadows’ attorney did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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