A federal judge on Friday denied Mark Meadows’ request that his case be moved out of Georgia and into federal court.
Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, has been charged with two felonies for his role in the Trump campaign’s effort to overturn Georgia’s 2020 presidential election results in his favor.
Meadows, who is facing trial along with Trump and 17 other defendants in the case, quickly filed an appeal to the decision by U.S. District Judge Steve Jones.
In his argument for the case to be moved to federal court, Meadows claimed that the charges concern his official duties as a federal officer. But Jones ruled Friday that Meadows “has not met his burden” of proof that the case should be moved to federal court, where the juror pool would be more politically diverse than that of Georgia’s Fulton County and defendants would have the possibility of a Trump-nominated judge overseeing their trial.
Jones also noted that Meadows’ job as White House chief of staff “did not include working with or working for the Trump campaign” and that the U.S. Constitution “does not provide any basis for executive branch involvement with State election and post-election procedures.”
The charges against Meadows, who has pleaded not guilty, concern him pressuring Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to overturn the certification of the state’s election results. A recording of the phone call, which Trump was also on, was publicly released following the election.
Jones’ decision is a big win for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who brought the state racketeering charges against the 19 defendants. It does not bode well for Trump and others who’ve said they’ll likely petition to move their cases to federal court.
In addition to potentially providing a friendlier judge and jury, a move to federal court would test the limits of Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, or RICO, under which the defendants are charged, as a federal judge could field legal challenges to the state law. It would also spare the defendants from having their trials televised, as cameras are banned in federal court.