In a legal dispute unfolding on Wednesday, Georgia prosecutors contended that Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff for former President Donald Trump, lacks grounds to transfer his criminal charges to federal court, citing his departure from the White House.
Meadows, facing two charges, seeks to invoke immunity as he pursues an appeal before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals following a prior rejection by a federal trial court judge of his removal request, reported The Hill.
The ramifications of the appellate court’s decision extend beyond Meadows, affecting other co-defendants in the case who seek to transfer their charges: Jeffrey Clark, a former Justice Department official, and David Shafer, a prominent figure among the state’s disputed electors, who have filed notices of removal of their own, according to The Hill.
Trump has indicated he might pursue a similar legal maneuver.
The appellate court instructed Meadows and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, a Democrat, to discuss whether the federal removal statutes extend to former officials in their filed legal briefs.
Meadows’ legal representative said it does, citing a federal statute.
Willis contended that the statute does not explicitly address its applicability to former officials. A pivotal aspect of the debate hinges on interpreting a neighboring section, where the differentiation between current and former officials is explicitly delineated.
Once the court determines the statute’s applicability to former officials, it must decide whether the accusations outlined in the indictment fell within Meadows’ responsibilities during his tenure as chief of staff. A federal judge ruled that they did not, denying Meadows’ request to transfer his charges.
In a separate action, Meadows has petitioned the 11th Circuit to suspend his prosecution until his appeal is resolved. A similar plea was submitted to the lower court earlier but was denied on Wednesday. Currently, the 11th Circuit has not decided on the pause request, a move contested by Willis. Oral arguments on this motion have been scheduled for Friday morning.
The court had previously agreed to expedite the entirety of Meadows’ appeal, potentially expediting the process to reach a final verdict within weeks. Subsequently, the aggrieved party may pursue an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Last month, Willis charged Meadows and 18 other individuals in a comprehensive racketeering indictment. In his case, Willis contended that they had engaged in an extensive, months-long criminal conspiracy to maintain Trump in the presidency. Meadows and the other defendants entered pleas of not guilty.
Jim Thomas ✉
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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